To say that Gwyneth Herbert is 'versatile' is a gross understatement. She is hugely talented and not easy to pigeon hole: one foot is firmly rooted in jazz, the other in the future. In a career that spans little more than a decade, Gwyneth has already accomplished so much, embracing different musical styles, always wanting to push the frontiers of her enormous creativity and ability.
Gwyneth is a singer-songwriter par excellence whose original compositions include melodies and lyrics that are touching, sincere and revealing. She is both a musician and a poet. Her reputation as one of the top few woman singer-songwriters on the scene today is thoroughly deserved.
Her new CD Sea Cabinet, to be released in the spring of 2013, is a revelation. It was developed during an artist residency at Snape Maltings, Suffolk. It is a unique multi-sensory, multi-layered song written and ripened on the Aldeburgh coast, drawing from the area's rich history and traditions, which she conceived during stormy morning walks. It tells the story of a woman walking the beach alone, collecting discarded or washed up objects which she takes home, cataloguing them with the care and rigour of a scientist. These objects are placed in 'The Sea Cabinet', and each one resonates with the memory of a secret sea-set story - the victory of a Fishguard cobbler's wife, a jaded seaside hotel, a sunken chapel, the shifting sands of wartime, Alderney, the dangerous allure of the King's Shilling, the loves and the losses and the stars and the whores and the drink and the drowning and the drip, drip, drip…
This will be Gwyneth's sixth CD. Her others are: First Songs (with Will Rutter), Bittersweet and Blue, Between Me and
the Wardrobe, All My Ghosts and Clangers and Mash.
Brought up in Hampshire, Gwyneth graduated in English from Durham University, before she elected for a career in music. In recent years, she has appeared on BBC Radio singing some of the favourite songs of, amongst others, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy and Queen Victoria.
She also spent a week at the National Theatre workshopping her musical The A-Z of Mrs P, co-written with the playwright Diane Samuels. At the London Jazz Festival she explored the songs and stories of the legendary Greenwich Village Club.
Gwyneth was involved in artist Mel Brimfield's This is Performance Art that included both a performance and a film, Gwyneth was painted from head to toe in white body paint and encased in a huge block of marble, from which she sang the lament of a sculpture, forgotten and discarded by her creator.
In what costume will Gwyneth appear in at the Wiltshire Jazz Festival? That's the question. The answer is blowing in the wind, or more likely, the sea.
The other celebrated members of Gwyneth's quintet are:
Fiona Bevan(vocals, guitar)
Al Cherry (guitars)
Dave Price (drums/percussion)
Sam Burgess (double bass)