Baby, it's cold outside but Cerys Matthews will be adding a bit of festive warmth and cheer when she comes to Birmingham next week for a special Christmas show, writes Gurdip Thandi.

The singer-songwriter, radio presenter, author, Dylan Thomas aficionado and all round lovely lady will be performing a one-off Christmas gig at Birmingham Town Hall on December 18.

And it promises to be a unique and educational event, as regular listeners to her popular Sunday morning BBC 6 Music show will not be surprised to hear.

Cerys told the Halesowen News: "It will be a Christmas Hoe Down! I will have a full band and we will be playing a range of stuff from a few old Christmas favourites, songs by people like Johnny Cash, a few Catatonia and my solo stuff and some Bluegrass!

"Christmas is the best time of the year and it is a chance to have a good time as everyone will be in the mood for a party and that's what the show will be about - encouraging people to join in and have fun."

Not that she needs to worry too much about encouraging Brummies to take part in her shows. It was a small acoustic show at a gig at the Glee Club in 2006 that provided the spark that resulted in her producing her bestselling book, Hook Line & Singer, that features dozens of contemporary and traditional songs perfect for a good old singalong.

"I love playing Birmingham and always happy to go back. I remember the Glee Club show and the whole audience was singing along - even to the Welsh songs. You don't get many natural Welsh speakers in Birmingham so I had just not expected that!

"The audience is like no other and I think a big part of that is the rich diversity the city has."

The Birmingham show will cap a phenomenal year for Cerys. As well as the success of Hook, Line and Singer, she made her debut at the BBC Last Night of the Proms, released Welsh speaking album Hullaballoo, hosted an audience with the surviving members of The Clash and scooped a Sony award for her 6 Music show.

She added: "It has been an incredible year. Winning the Sony award, seeing the ratings go up and also playing the Proms for the first time were all major highlights.

"I was probably the most unlikely and least obvious DJ to be asked to interview The Clash but delighted to do so as I'm a huge fan. I also once toured with Joe Strummer and have met Mick Jones many times.

"I love interviewing people, not to find out about their private lives but to learn more about their love of music, find out what makes them tick and discover new things about them.

"But the best part of the year has been meeting all these people who listen to my show and just love music.

"It's a labour of love for me, discovering all this music that isn't heavily promoted or in the mainstream and then sharing it with everyone. There is so much out there that the beauty is, I'm not going to run out of tracks to play anytime soon."

*Cerys Matthews plays Birmingham Town Hall on Wednesday, December 18. For ticket and booking info, please visit