Candy Mountain: Greatest Hits Live 2020

Available from https://music.amazon.co.uk/albums/B09PSCS3H6

Candy Mountain (a.k.a. Aled-wyn Jones) has been building himself a reputation all over the country as a memorable live act for some time now. These recordings do a fine job of capturing the essence of his unique performance style as a skilled purveyor of raw and raunchy blues.

His distinctive gravelly voice combines perfectly with his uncompromisingly powerful rhythmic guitar to create a distinctive atmospheric sound, as he drives out the songs with great authenticity and passion. The up-tempo numbers such as ‘Paying my Dues’ and ‘Devil’s Touch’ are powered along energetically by fuzzed-out punchy blues guitar riffs that at times can summon up very distant comparisons to ZZ Top.

However, it is perhaps his slower-tempo numbers that really do justice to the remarkable quality of both his songwriting and vocal delivery: tracks such as ‘Lose Anything’ and ‘Make me Good’ provide space for the intensity of the vocals to combine with the pained poignancy of the lyrics, creating a kind of hard-bitten romanticism that is really excellent. This reviewer’s favourite track of the bunch, ‘Coming Home’ is a gem of a song, delivered with a mixture of world-weariness and hope for redemption that leaves the listener spellbound, and reminded that grown men do (and should) cry.

Hopefully this set of recordings will encourage plenty more people to take the trip to Candy Mountain for the full live experience in the near future.

– Jim K.

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