He was swimming for an island but he never reached dry land

It’s been a week or more…

School has started again and it just takes over my life. Hard to fit other things in, really.

Anyway, last weekend I went to my friend Richard’s Double Yang Festival, or rather I went to the second half of it, having missed most of the day, getting ready for work.

It was a pretty mixed bag of acts, which was immediately apparent as soon as we walked in to see to fellers honking away on saxophones in a manner that can only be described as “left field”. It was pretty wild.

During the course of the evening I heard sets from Rose Kemp, who was better than last time I saw her, and James Blackshaw, who was kind of OK, and definitely quite brilliant, but also [whispers] a bit boring…

Alasdair Roberts

The last person onstage, though, was Alasdair Roberts, and again my prejudices about singer songwriters were shot to pieces. He played what I heard described as “real folk”, none of this alt/neo folktronica stuff, that has become quite trendy. He sang traditional songs about birds and lassies and, well, old stuff. He was hardcore, he bristled with authenticity, and I have to say he was well impressive.

At times his direct, gritty approach to his material reminded me of Will Oldham and, bingo, as soon as you do some research on Roberts, you come across the fact that one of the many people he has collaborated with over the years is in fact the loose-limbed, prodigiously-bearded Prince himself. (Jason Molina is another).

(You’ll have to believe me, I’m not being clever, I did actually say that at the time. In front of witnesses…)

Anyway, I found myself wishing I’d made more of an effort to see him at Green Man this year, but this video taken at the Palimpsest Festival gives a good idea of what he was like:

[Credit to ShakeyJake]

Very few legally available mp3s from Roberts I’m afraid, and this one from his own site, is a track recorded with his side-project Appendix Out, which seems to be a bit different from his solo stuff, but still worth hearing, I’d say.

Drinking Milk Again

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