Uplands Music Festival Heads to Swansea
HIMSICAL story songs musing on the joys of old fashioned coffee shops, and on the favourite haunts of his youth, will be served up to go by Ceri James, at Swansea's Uplands Festival.
He plugs it at the Uplands Tavern on Saturday, August 24, with a date in the diary at Llanelli's Queen Vic on August 21 too.
The acoustic roots player with one ear trained on The Kinks, and one on Glenn Tilbrook, heads home from South London for a mini tour of Wales, since his musical roots began their growth in these parts.
"I come back to Wales three or four times a year, to see family. I have a brother in Llanelli and one in Swansea and I usually stay with my gran.
"I was born in London but moved back to Wales when my parents split up and I spent a lot of time in Nantgaredig, which was a great place to be."
This outing is likely to be a solo one for the former Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera pupil.
"It is more responsibility to play solo. But it does help you develop your guitar skills.
Ceri has an EP out at the moment, with a full album in the offing, and you might have heard him being spun on Adam Walton's BBC Radio Wales show last Saturday.
"I almost have enough new material for an album, which I will start recording soon, so I'm playing a lot of them on the live shows.
"It is more of a roots sound for me, a little bit country, a little folk.
"I'm hoping to get some harmonica and some fiddle and maybe some lap steel on there."
He may even get his grandad's banjolele back in service.
"My granddad was too old to do service in the war but he used to entertain the soldiers with his honky tonk piano.
"He played bangolele too,and I have that now. "It is from the 30s/40s and I'm getting to grips with it. It is lovely to be able to play it since it belonged to him.
"I have his grand piano too but I can't have it with me in London because there isn't space."
For Ceri the retro sounds are the ones which started it for him and which he still mines for inspiration.
"You're right, I do love The Kinks.
"And my step dad was from Liverpool and he had lots of records from The Beatles and other Liverpool acts that I got into.
"My dad was into the Rolling Stones and Dylan, so I grew up listening to them. Those acts just stand the test of time.
"The last album I bought was a compilation of protest songs from the 20s to the 60s, by people like Pete Seeger and Cisco Houston.
"I'm also listening to Tony Joe White's southern soul and Peter Bruntnell who I know a little bit. We both have Welsh roots so we talk."
The festival runs from Thursday, August 22 until Monday, August 26 at The Tavern and the Garage.