COWBOIS RHOS BOTWNNOG – Mynd Ȃ’r Tŷ Am Dro (Sbigyn Ymborth SY037)

Mynd Ȃ’r Tŷ Am Dro I first encountered Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog via their first album which I rather liked. That was back in the noughties but since then nothing came my way. I began to think that there was some truth in the stories that the Welsh border was closed to prevent cheese smuggling – Jasper Fforde has a lot to answer for – or it may just be that the English are unreasonably dismissive of Welsh music. Now, however, the veil has been lifted and we have here the band’s sixth album, Mynd Ȃ’r Tŷ Am Dro (Taking The House For A Walk).

At the heart of the band are three brothers, Iwan, Aled and Dafydd Hughes from the Llyn peninsular, supported on this album by Branwen Williams, Llŷr Pari, Euron Jones, Gethyn Wyn Griffiths and Georgia Ruth Williams. The Cowbois are labelled “country” and at the beginning they were very country but now, although the country elements are still there, they have a grown and developed into a very fine acoustic rock band.

The first two songs, ‘Clawdd Eithin’ and the title track, are about the Llyn as Iwan says, “where I grew up. I don’t live there anymore”. They are songs of nostalgia but also of the changes that take place where you’re not watching. I swear that there is a banjo on ‘Clawdd Eithin’ but no-one admits to playing it and it’s not a translation thing – the Welsh for banjo is banjo!

‘Defodau’ is a gentle love song, featuring Iwan’s acoustic guitar decorated by Euron Jones’ pedal steel and ‘Halltu’r Dydd’ was written at the end of a good day. The title translates as salt-curing the day which may be a peculiarly Gwynedd expression and the song bursts into a fine electric guitar solo at the end. I’m pretty sure that ‘Adenydd’ features Georgia Ruth and it’s the most country track on the album with more of Jones’ pedal steel. ‘Trosol’ goes straight for grungy rock with Iwan’s organ holding it all together and more electric guitar.

‘Magi’ is about Iwan bringing his wife and baby son home and then we have a semi-cover and a cover. The first is ‘Cyrraedd Glan’, a poem by Iwan Lloyd set to music during lockdown and second is ‘Blodau Haearn Blodau Glo’ written by Twm Morys from another favourite band, Bob Delyn a’r Ebillion.

Mynd Ȃ’r Tŷ Am Dro is a really nice album with lots of variety in styles and themes and I hope that I don’t have the wait quite so long to hear their next one. If you’re looking for something new I can only recommend that you give this a try.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website:

‘Clawdd Eithin’: