Critically-acclaimed, criminally-overachieving Glasgow-based singer and guitarist Alasdair Roberts is known as a superlative original songwriter as well as an interpreter of traditional songs from Scotland and beyond. For the past twenty years, his recordings have alternated between these two complimentary poles, with ‘pop’ records such as The Amber Gatherers and A Wonder Working Stone nestling in his expansive back catalogue alongside “folk” albums such as No Earthly Man and What News (with Amble Skuse and David McGuinness). Alasdair's records possess a further dimension in their collation of songs together into one album-length statement. This is part of Alasdair’s great achievement — bringing songs and eras together in more than just a simple attempt to entertain.
Alasdair returns to roots with Grief in the Kitchen and Mirth in the Hall, the fifth full-length of traditional songs and first since 2018's What News. Recorded live in the studio in entirely solo performances, the twelve traditional ballads and songs were sparsely arranged, for acoustic guitar, piano and voice alone. Collectively, the songs treat of various conflicts and tensions — those of gender; of class, status and position; and of geography and tribal belonging — and the roles and responsibilities expected at the various intersections of these constructs. So that we might never forget!
"Eppie Morrie", the first taste of this new album, is a Scottish ballad, telling a tale of kidnapping and would-be assault with swift tempo. Young Eppie is no victim, though; she faces down her attacker with defiance and scorn. Sung by many over the years, from Ewan MacColl to Fotheringhay to Isla St. Clair to The Shee, it’s an ancient parable, smoothly picked and belted with brio here.
As alluded above, the spare setting and Alasdair’s committed performance reminds us not just the melodies but the meanings of these old songs, chosen instinctively and with care, for all to hear and sing in 2023, and the world beyond that is ever coming. Pre order your copy on LP/CD before March 31st!
3/23/23 Summerhall Edinburgh Scotland
3/24/23 The Tangled Parrot Carmarthen Wales
3/25/23 Bluestone Brewery Cilgwyn, Newport Wales
3/26/23 Wardrobe Theatre Bristol England
3/28/23– 3/29/23 Sutton House London England
3/31/23 South Street Arts Centre Reading
4/1/23 The Blue Moon Cambridge England
4/4/23 The Hug and Pint Glasgow Scotland
4/5/23 Kitchen Garden Cafe Birmingham England
4/6/23 Hyde Tavern Winchester England
4/7/23 Florence Park Community Centre Oxford England
4/8/23 Medina Bookshop Cowes, Isle of Wight England