Gwenifer Raymond: You Were Never Much of a Dancer review – an immersive debut

(Tompkins Square)


Gwenifer Raymond has a PhD in astrophysics, lives in Brighton and designs video games for a living. No ordinary human, she also has mercury in her fingertips. You can just about see it glisten as she plays guitar on There Will Be Blood for an introductory 2016 acoustic session. By early 2018, the song had evolved into Sometimes There’s Blood, and a video treatment with creepy Victoriana and taxidermy. Such is the Welsh-born Raymond’s very British take on a niche form known as the American primitive style, where guitars embark on flowing instrumental extemporisations, often ending up somewhere very eastern, sometimes sounding like Indian ragas.

Having discovered the guitar aged eight, when her mother gave her a cassette of Nirvana’s Nevermind, Raymond traced the idols of her idols back to the Delta blues, and then sideways into this folk form. Her immersive debut album pays tribute to the Delta and Appalachia at the same time, on the banjo workouts Bleeding Finger Blues and Idumea, and raises a battered hat to the godfather of the primitive scene on Requiem for John Fahey. Throughout, Raymond takes this roiling, rhythmic traditional sound and stamps her own imprimatur on it.

Watch the video for Gwenifer Raymond’s Sometimes There’s Blood.

Contributor

Kitty Empire

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Gwenifer Raymond review – finger-picking good
The Welsh guitarist dazzles with awe-inspiring technique and her intense musicality

Kitty Empire

29, May, 2021 @1:00 PM

Article image
Gwenifer Raymond: You Never Were Much of a Dancer review – fingerpicking good
The Welsh musician serves up a stew of bluegrass, blues and haunted Americana

Michael Hann

29, Jun, 2018 @8:30 AM

Article image
Henry Jamison: The Wilds review – an unshowy, literate gem
(Akira)

Kitty Empire

29, Oct, 2017 @9:00 AM

Article image
Sumie: Lost in Light review – oddly beautiful but wilfully wan
(Bella Union)

Emily Mackay

12, Nov, 2017 @8:00 AM

Article image
Conor Oberst: Salutations review – sprawling companion to Ruminations
(Nonesuch)

Phil Mongredien

19, Mar, 2017 @8:00 AM

Article image
Trippers & Askers: Acorn review – delicate, literate Americana
This US collective impress with a subtle, ambient debut inspired by Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower

Neil Spencer

31, Jul, 2021 @3:00 PM

Article image
The Willows: Through the Wild review – polished Anglo-Americana folk
(Elk Records)

Neil Spencer

23, Dec, 2018 @8:00 AM

Article image
Woods: Love Is Love review – defiant American optimism
The band’s response to the election of Donald Trump is stubbornly forward-looking and upbeat

Damien Morris

23, Apr, 2017 @7:00 AM

Article image
Billy Bragg and Joe Henry review – just the ticket
The singer-songwriters re-energise old-time Americana with their heartfelt covers of classic railroad songs

Neil Spencer

21, Aug, 2016 @8:00 AM

Article image
Watkins Family Hour: Brother Sister review – a model of sibling harmony
Sean and Sara Watkins are back and in reflective mood

Neil Spencer

09, May, 2020 @3:00 PM