ALASDAIR ROBERTS

Moseley Folk 2017 - Alasdair Roberts

Also playing at this year’s Moseley Folk as part of The Furrow Collective, Alasdair Roberts’ first releases came out under the name Appendix Out. They included four songs on Up Records 4×4 compilation in 1995 and the Ice Age 7’’ on the Drag City subsidiary of Palace Records the following year. He was signed to Drag City after attending a Will Oldham concert and impressing the great man with a demo tape cheekily given after the show.

Appendix Out went on to produce three albums; 1997’s The Rye Bears a Poison, 1999’s Daylight Saving and the High Llamas produced The Night is Advancing in 2001. During the time of recording this third album, Roberts became fascinated by more traditional works than those which he’d been producing and he then immersed himself in the balladry of the British Isles, and decided to put out a record under his own name.

Also released in 2001, The Crook of My Arm is a solo guitar and voice collection of traditional songs. Its popularity led him to abandon the Appendix Out moniker for good, and 2003’s Farewell Sorrow built on its predecessors’ success. Unlike its predecessor though, Farewell Sorrow was a collection of Alasdair’s own work, and featured his new half-British, half-American band.

For his third record, Roberts was able to attract Will Oldham to produce his work. No Earthly Man was a collection of tragic British ballads, and saw Roberts accompanied by a large cast of musicians including Isobel Campbell, John McCusker, and an anonymous chorus of farm-workers.

Roberts’ clear, quavering voice has continually made his work stand out. And his increasingly impressive back catalogue is textured, homogeneous, and constantly extremely pleasurable. Its latest addition, Pangs, was described by Mojo as “music that while irrefutably folk, gleefully shoves aside traditionalist tropes in favour of a buoyant, full-bodied combo sound.”