Death is not so easily defeated…

web_Alasdair_Roberts_02_by_Kim_Ayres (1)I’ve had these recordings knocking around for a while but not got round to doing anything with them…

I think it’s fair to say you really have to be in the right mood to appreciate Alasdair Roberts’ piercing, disconsolate folk forms, which may well be the unconscious reason why I’ve not really explored these recordings until now. We saw him supporting Bill Callahan in the cavernous spaces of Bristol’s St George’s. Now, Callahan’s getting a certain amount of love at the moment, not least because he appears to have “cheered up” a bit. Reviews of Dream River frequently cite Callahan’s apparent contentment (somebody even referred to him being “lucky in love”). Well, if this is true, I’m not sure I really want to look too deeply into Alasdair Roberts’ particular well of loneliness…

Alasdair Roberts

Having said that, once you’ve taken the step, there’s something irresistible about the man’s earthy songs – they shimmer and flicker like something half-buried in someplace rather unpleasant. I referred to his charms as being “Presbyterian” in the Bill Callahan post, and that being the case you might have expected him to have shone a little more brightly in the transcendent surroundings of St George’s in all its austere glory. But actually, Roberts seemed uncomfortable and didn’t make much of a connection with the Callahan-hungry audience. The recordings I made are marred slightly by the sounds of uninterested punters wandering off to the bar.

The poor wretch’s musings continue to fascinate this particular punter, though, and for once I was happy to listen to a good half hour of one man and his guitar – no banjo, no Jews’ harp, no loop pedal, just one player unremitting, strident, charmed…

Fair Flower of Northumberland

Farewell Sorrow

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