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Alasdair Roberts + Gareth Dickson + Talkbook @ The Tunnels - Tues 3rd May 05


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interesting music are delighted & proud to announce an evening of the finest contemporary singer-songwriters craftsment, working in Scotland currently.

Tues 3rd May 05

The Tunnels

Carnegies Brae

Doors 8pm

Entrance 5

Featuring:-

Alasdair Roberts +

Gareth Dickson

Talkbook

Alasdair Roberts

The NEW Releas

Over the course of three albums of original music with the band Appendix Out and a pair of albums under his own name, Scotsman Alasdair Roberts has been moving toward a purer understanding, exploration and interpretation of the traditional song of the British Isles. NO EARTHLY MAN shouldn't be regarded as a culmination of this exploration: this is Roberts' music, something he'll be fiddling with for the rest of his days. However, this new album comes with some sense of finality, part of which may have to do with its focus - a set comprised entirely of death ballads. Approaching the material with a musicological fervor, Roberts acknowledges the long tradition that each of the songs represents, as well as nodding towards the performances that brought these songs (and many others) to his attention in these relatively latter days. Once the music begins however, any academic approach this may indicate is out the window. NO EARTHLY MAN present songs with a combined age of over a thousand years in a fresh, forward-looking manner. The term 'death ballad' might connote a certain morbidity to some, and indeed, a life ends with some degree of tragedy in almost every song on NO EARTHLY MAN. However, Roberts' deep feeling for the material and his inventiveness in arranging these new versions highlights the poetry of these songs that has carried them from generation to generation over the years. Despite the general tragic air, a certain stoic hopefulness ervades the entire record, and this is perhaps Roberts' most emotionally and sonically broad record to date. There is a certain inevitability in the material - the deaths, while awful, are a process of living. The music resonates with an outherworldly air, eerie in a way that reminds us we are alive.Recorded near the whisky distilleries of rural Aberdeenshire and mixed amid the tobacco fields of Kentucky, NO EARTHLY MAN benefits from the playing and perspective of a diversity of musicians, and from the production talents of honorary Scot Will Oldham. And so, the death ballads breathe again, with new life. NO EARTHLY MAN is the third album by Alasdair Roberts and his sixth overall, including the Appendix Out catalog (Available now on Drag City). The franchise is growing.NO EARTHLY MAN was produced by Bonnie Will Oldham.

BIOGRAPHY Alasdair Roberts was born in the 1970s in Swabia, Germany, the son of a German mother and Scottish father. He was raised in central Scotland, mostly in the countryside near the small town of Callander, which lies in a frost hollow. This is where he began playing guitar, singing and writing songs. Between 1996 and the present day he's released a number of records, both under his own name and as Appendix Out. The following paragraphs offer a description of some of those records. In late 1994 Roberts offhandedly adopted the name Appendix Out, as mentioned above, under which to produce music. Two early songs featured on his first release in early 1996, a 7" on Palace Records entitled Ice Age. As was de rigueur at the time for a certain type of youth, these songs were recorded at home on 4-track. The sound was based on guitar, voice, overdubbed drums and the kind of computerised synth patches (courtesy of Roberts' friend David Elcock) which would nowadays be considered old-fashioned. Roberts moved to Glasgow in late 1995. There, he met more people to play with, some of whom played on the first Appendix Out album for Drag City records, 1997's The Rye Bears A Poison. The songs were written partly in rural Perthshire, partly in Glasgow and, for the most part, in the dark half of the year, facts which the album's sound and mood betray. In 1999, Drag City released the second Appendix Out album Daylight Saving, which was recorded in Glasgow with a new line-up. Mostly written between the month when the stags rut and the month when the corn is shorn, this album clearly sprang from the same loins as its predecessor and therefore shares some of the same blood, but could perhaps be considered as its brighter, marginally cheerier brother.The third and final Appendix Out album, The Night Is Advancing (2001) built on the approaches of the first two albums but with an extended instrumental armoury and an additional technicolour sheen provided by producers Rian Murphy and Sean O'Hagan. 2001 also saw the release of Alasdair Roberts' first album under his own name, The Crook of My Arm, on Secretly Canadian records. It's true that Roberts' records with Appendix Out had, however abstractedly, drawn on some of the atmosphere of the traditional music of the British Isles; The Crook of My Arm, however, showed him embracing it fully, with twelve solo guitar-and-voice versions of Scottish, English and Irish folk songs and ballads. In 2002, Roberts abandoned the Appendix Out name for good and recorded the album Farewell Sorrow under his own name, with a half-American, half-British band. This record showed Roberts drinking more deeply than ever before of the dark and ancient well of British song tradition, but this time revealing his consummate intuitiveness and respect for it in creating a record of twelve original songs which at once embody, yet in their own humble way transcend, that tradition. For his new record, No Earthly Man, Roberts presents another set of traditional British ballads and songs. Unlike the solo record The Crook of My Arm, however, No Earthly Man features a wide variety of players, and, despite the fact that every song is from a traditional source, it is perhaps Roberts' most radical record yet. After all, is it not the case that those who would be truly radical must first develop a true understanding of the radices, lest they be doomed to dig the barren ground forever in a fruitless search for the very roots they seek to expose? In this case, the root is Death, a subject about which every song on No Earthly Man is unapologetically concerned. This radicalism, this lack of apology, is apparent in the playing of the players, the singing of the singers, and in the spirit of the record's presiding tutelary deity (or, less grandiosely, if not less accurately, "producer"), Will Oldham, moving through it. Roberts and his companions have managed to make a record about Death which is not the wailing, wallowing, self-pitying ordeal one might expect from such a thing in our present age - in fact it's celebratory, at times positively joyous.What next for Roberts? In terms of the tradition that's provided the context to much of his finest work to date, it seems that for the moment he's turning his back on it (although, of course, I'm sure he'll still glimpse it over his shoulder from time to time) to work on new songs of his own - unshouldering that burdensome legacy for a spell and (perhaps, who knows?) maybe even lightening up a little. Isaac Stepek, Glasgow, January

2005

Label Website: http://www.dragcity.com

Artist Website: www.appendixout.com

Gareth Dickson

Played our ::synergy:: night & was quite wonderful. He plays mainly instrumental music using solo acoustic guitar and analogue delay and reverb. The music is influenced as much by the ambient works of Brian Eno and Aphex Twin as by some of the great fingerpickers such as Bert Jansch, Nick Drake etc. The overall style is definetly minimal but melody based as opposed to being a soundscape. The songs are lyrically sparse and often bleak, employing the same cheery themes as singer/songwriters throughout the ages: death and despair.

Talkbook

is a talented (he plays in a number of excellent bands in our opinion) lad from a small coastal town in the north east of scotland. Live, Talkbook is set to be a solo affair for the time being, though recorded, the songs are quite different, drawing inspiration from the likes of mt.eerie, papa m, beck and yo la tengo. Expect songs about talking animals, the weather and electricity. For more information, visit.

http://www.talkbook.cjb.net

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