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coverpic flag Scotland - Full Moon 228 - 04/04/15

Alasdair Roberts
Alasdair Roberts
Drag City

Scottish folk musician and guitar player Alasdair Roberts has released a long line of recordings over the years. In 1994 he formed a band called Appendix Out, who put out three albums between 1997 and 2001 (The Rye Bears a Poison, 1997; Daylight Saving, 1999; The Night is Advancing, 2001 - all on Drag City). Roberts turned on a solo career with 2001's The Crook of My Arm (Secretly Canadian). A couple of months ago he released his 8th solo album.

Some of Roberts' albums have consisted of traditional folk songs, but mainly his albums have held original songs. Roberts has also contributed to recordings for names such as The Incredible String Band, Neil Young, Will Oldham, Jason Molina, plus others. A number of musicians have played with Alasdair Roberts as well (meaning: recorded or performed with him), including Will Oldham, Gerard Love (of Teenage Fanclub), Isobel Campbell (from Belle & Sebastian) plus a line of others. This self-titled, new album presents more of Alasdair Roberts distinct character as a singer and a guitar player, as well as a songwriter, of course. The folk sound of Alasdair Roberts is quite clearly Scottish, or Gaelic. Well, at least I would have placed the music inside the Anglo folklore music area (on the British Isles) if I were up for a music blind-test. The songs and music of Alasdair Roberts is warm and airy, but simple and quiet with both feet on the ground - songwise, musically. This is solid, this is realism. The songs are mainly voice and guitar, with some sparse and discreet backing (guitars, bass, organ, flutes/whistles, clarinet, backing vocals). Songs from the woods, or songs from the plains (I thought I'd avoid the 'Scottish Highlands' cliche...). There is for sure a rustic, rural mood and strong meditative vibe within Roberts' songs. The ten tracks will most likely bring you peace, tranquility and harmony. On Roberts' former albums there have been stories insspired by 'mythology, esoteric spirituality and gnosticism'. A Wonder Working Stone (Drag City, 2013), by Alasdair Roberts & Friends brought out praise like: 'A master of scordatura techniques on the guitar... an exceptional lyricist... the sound of new myths and new music being hewn from folk's stone.' (The Wire), and: 'To describe Alasdair Roberts as a singer-songwriter is akin to saying Stephen Hawking is quite interested in physics.' (MOJO). Alasdair Roberts is a man of nature, burning rather passionate about his robust folk groove. It's all heart and soul. Art and folk as one.

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