Welsh Music Prize nominee, BBC Radio Cymru’s ‘Best Male Artist’ two years running (2011-2012), and having already performed – at Catatonia’s Cerys Matthews’ invitation no less – alongside Ed Sheeran on the main stage at Wakestock for the second time last year, Al Lewis is starting to be known on a huge level, and we can see why.
What makes him different is not only his twist on the classic singer-songwriter stance, but also his bilingualism – he has released two albums in the Welsh language, both of which spent a significant amount of time at the top of the Welsh Language charts. Originally from Pwllheli on the coast of North Wales, Al was discovered in 2007 when he came second in the Cân i Gymru (Translation: A song for Wales) contest, which is described as the Welsh equivalent to a Eurovision entry selection competition. If Wales could submit their own candidate, that is. Since then, his rise has been supported by his national identity, not only in terms of linguistics but in the amount of support he has gained from Welsh DJs and musicians. Furthermore, during last year Caffe Nero selected him as one of their Artists of the Month, meaning that he was played nationally throughout February and March. Fans of his include DJs Steve Lamacq, Huw Stephens, Janice Long, Tom Robinson and Bob Harris, and evidently Cerys Matthews, who he was asked to sing ‘Road Rage’ with at her gig in Bangor last year.
His new single, ‘Treading Water’, is evocative of American Rock ‘n’ Roll from the 60s and 70s, but from a folk perspective that means it fits perfectly into the acoustic sound that is pervading music at the moment. Reminiscent of a male KT Tunstall, Al’s music is sweet, emotive and honest, and the video that accompanies ‘Treading Water’ is just as lovely. His début album, In The Wake, managed to get into Amazon’s top 10 Folk Album chart.
His new album, Battles - recorded and produced by Charlie Peacock (Producer of the Double Grammy award winning act, The Civil Wars) at his home studio in Nashville, Tennessee – sees Al reunited with long-time collaborator and friend, Sarah Howells (lead singer for Paper Aeroplanes), and talks about the passing of time, life’s trials and tribulations as well as our endless search for fulfillment. The new album is due out on the 24 September, ahead of his UK tour in October. The tour is due to commence at the Eric’s in Liverpool on October the 3rd, and will run until his last show at The Wilmington Arms on the 27th.
We are pleased to see Al Lewish making a big splash on the national stage, and look forward to seeing him tour under his own name. Look out for our interview with him coming out later this week.