A remarkable triple bill of full solo sets from songwriters who have shared a musical journey and friendship featuring Choice Music Prize winner Adrian Crowley and acclaimed Scottish songsmiths James Yorkston and Alasdair Roberts.
Adrian Crowley’s Season Of The Sparks was a languorously melodic piece of work recalling Bill Callahan, Robert Wyatt and Leonard Cohen. Adrian is currently recording his new album. James Yorkston’s ruminations on love, lust, longing and liquor share a more eternal, resigned, Celtic feel with the battered reflections of Jacques Brel and Bert Jansch than any of his contemporaries. Over four albums of flinty beauty Yorkston has established a canon as singular and intimate as any current songwriter. Alasdair Roberts is a Scottish singer, guitarist, interpreter of traditional songs and writer of new songs based in Glasgow. He has released three albums of original material under the name Appendix Out on Drag City as well as five albums under his own name. Alongside collaborating with Juana Molina and Will Oldham, he has continued his exploration of folks with his latest release, Too Long In This Condition.
Others may have arrived at folk music with an eye on low cost forms of self-expression or as access to an encounter group where a battered guitar and an ability to wail ensure you of an in; but James Yorkston has always kept his own counsel. A native of Fife, Yorkston was an integral early member of the Fence Collective whose reach across contemporary music continues to lengthen: King Creosote, The Aliens, KT Tunstall. All the above share Fence roots and a shackles – off mentality with Yorkston.
Over three albums of flinty beauty: Moving Up Country (2002)Just Beyond The River (2004) & The Year Of The Leopard(2006) and the wonderfully ramshackle rattle bag compilationRoaring The Gospel (2007) Yorkston has established a canon as singular and intimate as any current songwriter. Yorkston has the true stand off affability of a storyteller that allows him to happily sit in on a high-spirited ceilidh, or hoarsely join on the harmonies at one of the Fence Collective’s legendary homegames. Yorkston is very much at home on stage, his live shows evolving into celebratory, somewhat rambunctious affairs.
James Yorkston recently released his fourth studio album When the Haar Rolls In. All the ambition, beauty and pathos of his previous albums is sweeping through – and he’s even bought back the full, lush arrangements that popularised his early work. Self produced; this album has the sound of a man let loose – un-restrained by the hand of an outside producer or the expectation of a major label’s desperation for a hit album. Alongside King Creosote, The Aliens, Beta Band & Kate Tunstall, arriving here we have another slab of Fence Collective – East Neuk of Fife braw-ness. James is working once again with his trusty Athletes, along with some more unexpected names – Norma Waterson, Mike Waterson, Marry Gilhooly, Olly Knight. Not sure who they are? Have a wee look-up, filed under “legendary English folk family”.
Winner of the Choice Music Prize for his 2009 album Season of the Sparks, Adrian Crowley has been busy recording the follow up with plans for an early 2012 release. It will be his sixth album.The Galway raised songwriter who recently signed to legendary Scottish label, Chemikal Underground was once famously name checked by Ryan Adams in Rolling Stone as one of his favorite underground
Season Of The Sparks was a languorously melodic piece of work. Recalling Bill Callahan, Robert Wyatt and Leonard Cohen with idiosyncratic array of instruments like the Marxophone, mellotron and harmonium, gorged full of Arcadian imagery set against a backdrop of Robert Kirby-esque string arrangements courtesy of London duo Geese.
Long Distance Swimmer, his 2007 Choice nominated album, marked the first steps from little known artist to one of this country’s most valued songwriters who had been quietly honing his craft, or as The Sunday Times described, ‘using stealth as a deadly weapon’.
Since that time Crowley has shared the stage with Silver Jews, Low, Vetiver, Vashti Bunyan, Beirut among others and co- curated his own mini festival, Homelights, appeared on ‘Other Voices’, and has been a regular feature at Electric Picnic and the Fence Collective’s Homegame festival in Fife, Scotland.
Alasdair Roberts is a Scottish singer, guitarist, interpreter of traditional songs and writer of new songs based in Glasgow. Since 1996 he has worked with Drag City Records of Chicago, releasing three albums of original material under the name Appendix Out as well as five albums under his own name, featuring both original and traditional material. In that time, he has worked with a wide variety of collaborators from many different musical and artistic backgrounds.
In terms of traditional material, Roberts has a predilection for song and, in particular, the kind of narrative ballads which feature on the album ‘No Earthly Man’ Drag City, 2005) and the forthcoming album ‘Too Long In This Condition’ (Drag City/Navigator, 2010). His own song material, such as can be heard in his work as Appendix Out and on the albums ‘Farewell Sorrow’ (Drag City/Rough Trade, 2003), ‘The Amber Gatherers’ (Drag City, 2007) and ‘Spoils’ (Drag City, 2009), draws on traditional material in various melodic and lyrical ways. With a background in English and Scottish literature, he has a recurrent interest in themes mythopoeic, metaphysical, naturalistic, historical and folkloric.
Wednesday, 5th October
Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick
Tickets: €17.50, €15 and €12.50 from 061 319866 or belltable.ie
Thursday, 6th October
Triskel Christchurch, Cork
Tickets: €20 and €17 from 021 4272022 or triskelartscentre.ie
Friday, 7th October
Peppercanister Church, Dublin
Tickets: €20 from tickets.ie
Show 8.00pm Sharp
Saturday, 8th October
Riverbank Arts Centre, Kildare
Tickets: €20 from 045 448 327 or riverbank.ie