MEN OF GWENT: President of Wales: LP/CD

If you sing songs based around my hometown of Newport, Wales then you are guaranteed my undivided attention. If those songs bring memories rushing back as well as educating me through the retelling of historical occurrences—the 1909 docks disaster—then that’s even better. Men Of Gwent is yet another outlet for one of Newport’s most famous sons, Jon Langford of The Mekons, The Three Johns, and Waco Brothers to name just three of his other musical endeavors. The band takes what might be best described as an alt. country route on this album. The storytelling and lyrical content is exquisite, as one would expect from Langford. Despite the majority of President of Wales being Newport-centric, it should still strike a chord with those unfamiliar with the city due to Langford’s ability to regale one and all. It’s been a while since a song has brought me to tears, but “Bulmore Lido” does just that on almost every listen as it brings back memories of spending time there with my late mum when I was young. The album also features a cover of a Joe Strummer’s “X-Ray Style” from the first album he did with the Mescaleros, continuing the Newport connection given that Strummer was a grave digger in the city in the mid-1970s. This album warms my heart and fills me with joy. –Rich Cocksedge (Country Mile, [email protected], countrymile.org)