We'd like to take a second to thank the choir of crickets for their participation on this Gruff Rhys session. They were vocal and it worked perfectly through the verses and choruses that the lead singer for the excellent Welsh band Super Furry Animals, as he was in Texas, supporting his solo album, "Candylion," during the early summer of 2011. We weren't in Austin that day, but those crickets must have been Lone Star State-sized. They must have been bigger than cowboy hats, for they sang out with great air and greater enthusiasm. The songs that Rhys played here were mostly new songs, that were being written for his album, "Hotel Shampoo," which wasn't released until the beginning of this year, so these early versions take on more tenderness, in a way, with the crickets playing their symphony. There's a sense that we're hearing these songs tried out for the first time, being worked over as he sits on the other side of the door, out on his porch, as a night is just settling in the middle of the countryside, where the nearest neighbor isn't any closer than a country mile. He sings of "wandering hearts, ticking together" on the outstanding song, "If We Were Words (We Would Rhyme)," and this version sounds twice as spectacular, done in this way. It's closer to the original speck of inspiration, it seems, as if all of the wishful and unfortunate feelings rose to the surface. Rhys sings, "And I will always wonder how it would be if we never had met/Life would be easier, but don't, I suspect, you'd ask me to keep it discreet, so I'll sing a song of deceit/And I'll never claim you were mine/Just if we were words, we would rhyme," and it's a night that finds itself still with thought, just the crickets as companions.