Critically acclaimed Scottish folk singer, guitarist and songwriter Alasdair Roberts has been described as ‘one of Britain’s most singular and original talents’ (Colin Irwin, fRoots) – evidenced by the release of his most recent album A Wonder Working Stone (Drag City, available on CD and double LP).
The term ‘folk singer’ doesn’t quite cover the breadth of Alasdair’s work over the years. As the core member/songwriter of Glasgow-based avant-folk ensemble Appendix Out, he released three albums of original material between 1997 and 2000, before striking out under his own name in 2001. Since then he has gone on to release three albums of interpretations of traditional songs and ballads (The Crook of My Arm, , No Earthly Man  and Too Long In This Condition , as well as a collaboration with Scotitsh Gaelic singer Mairi Morrison (Urstan, ) and several records of self-written songs (Farewell Sorrow, , The Amber Gatherers,  and Spoils ).
The most recent record by Alasdair Roberts & Friends, A Wonder Working Stone, features ten complex and idiosyncratic new Alasdair Roberts songs performed by a wide array of gifted fellow musicians on drums, electric guitar, upright bass, fiddle, accordion, trumpet, trombone, harmonium, flute, Scottish smallpipes and backing vocals. As is often the case with Alasdair’s songs, the tracks from A Wonder Working Stone draw heavily on the traditional song culture of Scotland (and, more widely, the British Isles), which is the basis of his musical research. However, that’s only one of the many influences to be felt in the work, which also has nods to rock, baroque, rap and New Orleans marching band musics; Roberts’s extraordinary lyricism takes its place in the lineage of a Scottish literary tradition encompassing modernist poets such as Ian Crichton Smith, Sorley MacLean and Hugh MacDiarmid, back through Robert Burns and Robert Tannahill to the mediaeval ‘makars’ and Gaelic bards of Dark Age Dalriada.
At the core of A Wonder Working Stone are Alasdair Roberts’ distinctive tenor voice and idiosyncratic open-tuned finger style guitar, which will be on full display when he performs at [insert town/city/venue name here] on [insert date here] with Stevie Jones (El Hombre Trajeado, Arab Strap) on upright bass, Rafe Fitzpatrick (Tattie Toes) on fiddle, Ben Reynolds (Two Wings) on electric guitar, Shane Connolly (Tattie Toes, Sokobauno Puppet Theatre) on drums, Olivia Chaney on backing vocals and harmonium, Alison McGillivray (Concerto Caledonia) on viola da gamba, Ross McCrae and Richard Merchant (Horns of Plenty, Second Hand Marching Band) on trombone and trumpet.
Praise for A Wonder Working Stone by Alasdair Roberts & Friends:
“Few, if any, artists are pushing the boundaries of traditional music further.” Uncut 9/10
“To describe Alasdair Roberts as a singer-songwriter is akin to saying Stephen Hawking is quite interested in physics.” Mojo 4/5
“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
Strictly over 18′s, I.D. may be required.
AFTER THE GIG
Whelan’s Silent Disco from 10:30pm – 2 DJs, just pick the one you like best [Free before 11:30pm, €5 after] plus Late Bar.