In 2011 I released an album based on the psalms.
10/10 Cross Rythms
Songs based on the Psalms are usually either very reflective, or bouncy and full of praise (or possibly, if you're Boney M, inappropriately disco). Sheffield-based Trefor's second album, the follow-up to 2007's 'Fairweather', brings a chunk of raw emotion to the biblical lyrics. After an upbeat, country-tinged "Seen You In The Sanctuary", he brings a powerful blues feel to some of the Psalms of lament such as "By The Rivers Of Babylon" and "How Long Will You Forget Me?" and a slightly more upbeat, but still very raw atmosphere to a few of the more joyful Psalms ("Sing To The Lord", "I Love The Lord"). The lyrics are pretty well as you'd read them in the Bible, with few embellishments and no great tinkering with the structure. Trefor himself plays guitar, piano, keyboards, harmonica and accordion, with help from Roo Walker on electric guitar, Aron Bicskey on drums and Andy Baker and Stu Chalmers on bass. But it Jones' voice which is his greatest asset. Sounding as if he drinks battery acid, or has been smoking extra strength untipped cigarettes since his childhood, it is a voice specially chiselled to sing the blues and the gravelly expression he brings to these Psalms perfectly complements the deep emotions expressed by the psalmists. Joined by Philippa Hanna on the opening song, Mr Jones' vocal power and his ability to wring real emotion from what were originally deeply emotional songs set this album apart. Get hold of a copy if you can and hear the Psalms come alive as they were meant to do.
In 2007 I released a singer songwriter album called Fairweather.
8/10 Cross Rythms
This album by a Sheffield-based singer/songwriter is a revelation from start to finish. All songs are written by Trefor, whose rich, gravelly voice is accompanied by acoustic guitars, harmonica, piano, accordion, cello, flute, bass, banjo. . .and the kitchen sink! The end result is an album of songs which not only grab you immediately but grow on you with repeated listening. Citing Dylan, Billy Bragg and Johnny Cash as influences, all these come through in the mix, which still comes through as original and engaging. The occasional bit of boogy woogy piano creeps through, as well as some impressive guitar-based blues and R&B with great harmonica thrown in. Given the Psalms are full of the blues it makes me wonder why there are so few Christian songwriters who do them well and who can pull off the kind of bitter sweet lyrics we find here - well, this is one! These are clearly songs borne out of experience of real life with all its pain and trials but always coming back to the fact that God "my sweet refuge" is close by. This album has not been out of my car CD player since receiving the review copy! I'll give the last word to one track "Sanctuary" - "Oh let me be your minstrel boy, let me be your seer/For I've got the fire and I've got the fear/Make me sing songs of bitterness, make me sing songs of woe/For they're sweet on my lips and I'm raring to go." A very impressive debut.