Skip to content

Rough Trade

Gruff Rhys is a ‘Bad Friend’

Gruff Rhys has released “Bad Friend” – the third and final track to be taken from his new album “Sadness Sets Me Free” before its release by Rough Trade Records on 26.01.2024. Remarkably, “Sadness Sets Me Free” is Gruff Rhys’ 25th long playing record in a 35 year recording career.

Gruff says on his new track: “People always refer to ‘good friends’. This song is toying with the idea of the ‘bad friend’. Maybe a bad friend is still better than not being a friend at all. Some friends function better than others, but they’re not enemies. Within the structures of 21st-century life, the pressure on people’s time – and what we are expected to be able to perform in daily life – is so kaleidoscopic. If I could shorten the sentiments to one line, it would be ‘all in good time’. It’s me reaching out to friends through song because maybe I haven’t had the chance to go to their house or talk to them on the phone.”

In a career that has taken him from the slate-mining towns of north-west Wales, down to the expat communities of Patagonia, up to the Mandan tribe of the Great Plains of North America and across to the Tuareg rock groups of the Saharan Desert, Gruff Rhys, has always been willing to follow an opportunity, wherever it may lead him. “At this point I quite like working with serendipity,” he says. “Not in a cosmic way, [but] I try and leave things open to chance encounters and chance geography. As I’m around 25 albums in I’m always looking for ways to make a different-sounding record”