Scottish folk genius Alasdair Roberts and Sheffield’s instrument inventor / performer James Green have been brewing on this release for a few years: now it is ready! Roberts provides his very special voice (singing originals as well as older pieces like a Britten arrangement of Thomas Moore), and Green mostly plays his ‘harmoniflute’, a special harmonium / accordion he has created. The resulting Plaint of Lapwing is an intimate and fantastic record.
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- pipe 013
- pipe 013 / Hand-numbered LP on Clay Pipe Music. Red sleeve variant edition of 500 copies
- Includes download code
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- Plaint of Lapwing by Alasdair Roberts and James Green
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Fuck art, let’s folk. Alasdair Roberts has progressed from his marvellous unappreciated band Appendix Out through to being a folk singer of note with several acclaimed albums on Drag City and others and has come a long way from his rather Bonnie Prince Billy aping roots. That journey has mainly consisted of seeping further and further into his beloved folk music.
This is a collaboration with the Big Eyes Family Players leader James Green who plays the rather exotic sounding harmoniflute as well as other assorted instruments. Sensibly Green concentrates on Roberts strengths which his voice and guitar picking though that harmoniflute is ever present. What it results in is probably Roberts most traditionally folk record (and that really is saying something). Roberts early day singer songwriter tendencies have long been replaced by the sound of an authentic folkie. His voice seems to have been squashed by the weight of keeping Scottish folk visible in the alternative mainstream and this smaller voice seems perfectly made to navigate the twists and turns of these traditional sounding but mostly original works.
Highlights include ‘If There Is Any Light’ a deliciously simple composition with the type of soaring chorus (strengthened by autoharp) that Roberts that sometimes can excel at, the slower paced ’The Evening Is Growing Dim’ evokes the spirit of Nic Jones with tangled acoustics and nicely double tracked vocals by Roberts. The album is a dense, intense work (just reading the sleeve notes left me exhausted) and you are going to have to be really into traditional folk to enjoy it but if you can seep into his world then Roberts is following a delicious furrow
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