Gwenifer Raymond (GBR)
Period: Available - please enquire
Label: Tompkins Square
Raymond began playing guitar at the age of eight shortly after having been first exposed to punk and grunge. After years of playing around the Welsh valleys in various punk outfits she began listening more to pre-war blues musicians as well as Appalachian folk players, eventually leading into the guitar players of the American Primitive genre.
She released her debut LP You Never Were Much Of A Dancer on Tompkins Square earlier this year to rapturous response. She has found herself equally embraced by fans of old-west and equally, by left field/experimental audiences.
She has appeared throughout the UK and Ireland, and the US. Her new LP drops some time in the not too distant future and plans a return to the US as well as her first EU shows.
"Just about anybody with an interest in the new school of American primitive will tell you that Welsh guitarist Gwenifer Raymond is one of its most promising proponents. She started out playing in punk bands before she discovered the blues of Mississippi John Hurt and Skip James, which led her to the world of John Fahey, and the discovery that a solo acoustic guitar could become a band in itself. “I’ve been blown away by Gwenifer Raymond,” says Jeff Conklin. Josh Rosenthal agrees: “She’s just a fascinating person—a great example of somebody taking the raw elements [of the style] and making them more personal.”"
- BandCamp Daily
"Its intricate folk melody is Welsh and Celtic in style but American Old West in practice. The rhythmic patterns mimic the swift dynamics of a fiddle with a country twang. Western music was originally influenced by traditional folk music from England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland; Raymond’s seamless crossover grows from these historically intersecting roots."
"American Primitive Guitar is a unique sub-genre of acoustic instrumental guitar music that exists under the always foreboding shadow of John Fahey, the late, idiosyncratic, and troubled genius credited with almost single-handedly inventing the form. It's an often grizzled and stubborn group who produces and passes judgment upon the genre, and it's almost exclusively male. Anyone who has explored Tompkins Squares' genre-defining Imaginational Anthem anthologies is familiar with the form's leading lights: Robbie Basho, Suni McGrath, Max Ochs, Sandy Bull, Michael Chapman, the commercially successful Leo Kottke, and the tragically short-lived Jack Rose. And sprinkled among those collections is a small assortment of fingerpicking women capable of meeting and even beating their male contemporaries note for note."
- Pop Matters
2 reviews, a day apart in the Guardian (4 and 5 stars)
Awesome and detailed article on Gwen and her technique and approach, as well as influences: Acoustic Guitar's Next-Gen fingerstyle article
Cerys Matthews, BBC Radio 2 in Session:
Oct 26 London St Johns on Bethnal Green
Nov 03 London Union Chapel Daylight Music
Nov 09 London Southbank
Nov 22 Ghent Eastern Daze Kunstencentrum Vooruit
Sometimes There's Blood - live
Bleeding Finger Blues - live