Cerys Is Back on Stage with a Bump; REVIEW

By Smyth, David | The Evening Standard (London, England), June 20, 2003 | Go to article overview

Cerys Is Back on Stage with a Bump; REVIEW


Smyth, David, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: DAVID SMYTH

Cerys Matthews

Union Chapel, N1

AT A TIME when many people are so critical of America, there can be few better adverts for taking a trip there than the sight of Cerys Matthews, Nashville's newest celebrity resident, in the full bloom of pregnancy.

Now in London halfway through her first solo UK tour, she is a different woman from the brash Welsh party animal who threw away her musical career two years ago.

In the summer of 2001, with her band Catatonia on the verge of splitting, the extrovert singer checked into rehab for "exhaustion and recurrent asthma, exacerbated by drinking and smoking".

Like another major face of the Britpop scene, Pulp's Jarvis Cocker, she had achieved her dreams of success after years of struggle, then - amid a blaze of glamorous London parties and awards ceremonies - forgotten that she was principally just a singer.

While her band were hoping to write a new album, she was off mucking about with Tom Jones.

The American wilderness solved her problems. In June last year she travelled to the outskirts of Nashville on a whim, turning up at a log cabin belonging to Bucky Baxter, best known as Bob Dylan's slide guitarist, hoping he would help her to produce a solo album.

Baxter had not finished building his recording studio, so Matthews was left hanging around in the woods until it was ready.

The wild surroundings inspired her to write some truly beautiful, simple folk songs, many of which have ended up on Cockahoop, released last month. It was there that she also met her husband, American music producer Seth Riddle, and saw the beginnings of her now major bump. …

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