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Preacher Man's Tribute To Artist - Liverpool Daily Post, 29th May 2006

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yline: By ROLAND HUGHES

TWO of Wales' biggest cultural ambassadors will be united in song with the release of a new album this summer.

Manic Street Preachers' lead singer James Dean Bradfield will release his first solo album in July.

And among the album's songs is a tribute to his native Wales - and, surprisingly, to renowned Anglesey painter Sir Kyffin Williams.

The pair met for the first time at Sir Kyffin's Brynsiencyn home last month, with the painter describing the reference on the album as "a great honour".

Bradfield, of Newport, will release his album, The Great Western, on July 24 after almost 20 successful years as lead singer with the Manics.

The 11-track album is firmly rooted in Wales, and nowhere more so than on its final track, Which Way to Kyffin.

In an interview promoting the album, Bradfield said: "I was in west Wales last year, and I had this feeling where I didn't want to go back to London and was really fighting not to go back.

"I just felt like driving up to Anglesey to find Kyffin Williams. "Just drive up to North Wales on the spot, make the three-hour journey and paint myself into a corner and never have to leave again.

"Almost in a metaphorical way, like the chorus says, I was trying to paint myself a different life so you can be captured in the painting and don't have to leave it."

Last month, Bradfield did eventually drive up to Anglesey with his wife Mylene to meet Sir Kyffin, arguably Britain's greatest living landcape artist.

Last night, Sir Kyffin, now 88, said: "He was here with his wife about a month ago and I was very impressed by him, actually.

"I always imagined people in pop to be rather superficial. He was the absolute opposite. We were talking about everything.

"People have written poems about me, as you would expect in Wales, but never a song."

Sir Kyffin said Mylene wanted to buy her husband one of his drawings for their 2004 wedding in Italy, but ended up splashing out on an original oil painting instead.

Sir Kyffin learnt he was the subject of a song by reading it in a newspaper, and said: "I am delighted. It's a great honour. It came as a great surprise at my age.

"I am rather pleased. It is very nice to know that someone like him appreciates my work."

The Manic Street Preachers are in the studio recording their eighth album, and Bradfield will release his first solo single, That's No Way To Lie, on July 10.