Plus support from Sound of Yell and Lizabett Russo
January 2015 will see the release of Alasdair Roberts, the new solo record from the well-known Scottish songwriter, guitarist and singer Alasdair Roberts - his eighth Drag City Records release under his own name, following on from 2013’s A Wonder Working Stone.
The making of Alasdair Roberts saw the artist return to Glasgow’s Green Door Studio, where he also made his 2009 Drag City release Spoils. In contrast to the brighter, crisper sound of recent records such as the aforementioned A Wonder Working Stone, Alasdair Roberts has a darker, warmer feel, the result of having been lovingly recorded in the analogue domain by Green Door’s masterly house engineer Sam Smith.
A Wonder Working Stone (the record’s title making clear Alasdair’s interest in a Jungian conception of existence) was an expansive double album, featuring some thirteen musicians working their way through complex arrangements of ten epic, sprawling songs. By contrast, although the forthcoming record Alasdair Roberts also features ten tracks, it is sparse, intimate and concise.
The focus throughout is on Alasdair’s deft acoustic fingerstyle guitar and his voice. The songs are variously elliptical and gnomic, direct and personal, romantic and tender at times, and there are occasional guest appearances from fellow Glasgow-dwellers Alex South (clarinet), Donald Lindsay (tin whistle) and singing quartet The Crying Lion (Alex Neilson, Lavinia Blackwall, Harry Campbell, Katy Cooper - harmony vocals). It could be argued that the decision to self-title the forthcoming record hints at the idea of the artist as having achieved, in Jungian terms, complete ‘individuation.’
Alasdair Roberts has had a remarkable career to date, starting his music-making in the mid-nineties (under the band name Appendix Out), collaborating widely with many musicians in the intervening 20 years as well as artists from other disciplines such as film makers, poets and puppeteers. The new self-titled album is a welcome addition to a vital body of work; it should please both long-term followers and new fans alike.
"Alasdair Roberts might be quietly escalating towards Scottish national treasure status" ★★★★ Mojo
"His twisting melodies and cryptic imagery remain a delight... by turns droll, pungent and lovely" The Observer
"An understated gem... kept me engaged until the final note" ★★★★★ The Sun
“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