Thursday 11 February 2016, 8pm

Alasdair Roberts + Barrel + Concerto Caledonia presents Nathaniel Gow’s dance band

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Glasgow-based songwriter Alasdair Roberts returns to OTO following his stand-out set as part of Trembling Bells residency last June and an acclaimed self-titled album (his eighth) on Drag City. Alasdair Roberts is possibly the only musician to have starred on the covers of bothWire and fRoots magazines, reflecting the uniquely innovative nature of his work which couples interpretations of traditional material with new compositions drawing on the folkloric stock of Scotland, Britain and the wider world.

“It is a rare talent – one who is now bordering on auteur territory - who can relate folk music with such scholarly authenticity, and penetrate on such an emotional level at the same time.” – The Quietus

“Roberts retains an abiding love for dense lyricism, internal rhyme schemes, and melodies that wind their way along like wild vines gradually unspooling over stony ruins.” – Pitchfork

Alasdair Roberts

Alasdair Roberts is a musician (primarily a guitarist and singer) who is based in Glasgow. He has worked with Drag City Records since 1997, firstly releasing three albums of self-written material under the name Appendix Out and then several albums under his own name, the most recent being Alasdair Roberts (2015). A new album Pangs, recorded with Alex Neilson (drums) and Stevie Jones (bass) among other musicians, will be released in February 2017. Alasdair has also released music on labels such as Secretly Canadian, Galaxia and Stone Tape Recordings.

His work mainly consists of two parallel strands: self-written song material (which can be heard on albums such as Farewell SorrowThe Amber GatherersSpoilsAlasdair Roberts and the forthcoming Pangs) and interpretations of traditional songs and ballads from Scotland and beyond (which can be heard on albums such as The Crook of My ArmNo Earthly Man and Too Long In This Condition).

Alasdair has collaborated widely with many different musicians throughout his musical career, including the Scottish Gaelic singer Mairi Morrison, with whom he made the 2012 album Urstan and Sheffield-based musician James Green, with whom he made the 2016 album Plaint of Lapwing (Clay Pipe Music). He has also worked with artists from other disciplines such as film makers, poets, painters and puppeteers


Alison Blunt violin - Ivor Kallin viola - Hannah Marshall cello

The first performance bringing the trio together was in 2007 at Freedom of the City Festival in London. It was so enjoyable that the musicians decided to form a band and called themselves Barrel, as it involved a lot of scraping. Barrel has since gained a formidable reputation through their mainland and international performances. Gratuitous Abuse was in the Wire Magazine's annual critic’s choice list of improv’ releases and both this audio documentation and Barrel - Live At Artacts ’12 have received many excellent reviews.

“Decades of instrumental practice along and against the tradition blended inside an inter-mutual jargon that takes something from the classic and the absurd in equal doses. Heterogeneous composites causing inflammatory euphoria.” – Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes

“To the uninitiated, this trio of string virtuosos might sound like musical terrorists…revolutionary, funny and breathtakingly audacious.” – All About Jazz

Further info:

Concerto Caledonia presents Nathaniel Gow's dance band

Concerto Caledonia's 13 albums have uncovered many hidden aspects of Scottish music, from Italianate baroque cantatas and 18th-century fiddlers re-writing Purcell, to the mercenary viol player Tobias Hume and the amiable drunk aristocrat composer the 6th Earl of Kellie. Alasdair Roberts featured on their Britten-inspired Revenge of the Folksingers: Gramophone magazine wrote of its Purcell-based follow-up that 'To say that Concerto Caledonia's album veers between maddening and utterly joyous is to put them well ahead of the curve.' Their current project is a Scottish dance band based on models from the Golden Age of Scottish fiddling in 1780s Edinburgh. Come prepared to dance ...