Topics: Guitar, Acoustic guitar, Folk music Pages: 2 (425 words) Published: January 30, 2013
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pnmt3Pxet's been said that the compositions of Glasgow-based folk artist Alasdair Roberts sound as if they were written hundreds of years ago. This is certainly testament to the Will Oldham protégé's nigh-on two-decade quest to promote the communal and social aspect of folk music, rather than the confessional and personal approach taken by many acoustic guitar-wielding singer/songwriters who have popularized the genre in recent decades. While Roberts has been acclaimed for successfully tackling whole albums of traditional material with considerable aplomb -- see his sparse but assured 2001 full solo debut, Crook of My Arm; 2005's unflinching collection of murder ballads, No Earthly Man; or the tender and well-researched 2010 set Too Long in This Condition -- never has his music souwell-researched 2010 set Too Long in This Condition -- never has his music sounded so universal and inclusive than it does on this set of originals. From the invitation to the gunpowder and wine-fueled "The Merry Wake" through to the uncharacteristically jovial, brass-fueled "Scandal and Trance/We Shall Walk Through the Streets of the City," Roberts introduces listeners to an array of characters -- "the joker," "the jester," "the banker," "the broker" -- whose key message is "Get over your tiny self/Because all days will end in joy." It's not just these archetypal figures who provide the revelry and camaraderie on A Wonder Working Stone. Listeners also get this in spades from the accomplished cast of musicians who build upon Roberts' idiosyncratic open-tuned acoustic guitar work and sway around his dense, lyrical songs, such as the sprawling and philosophical nine-minute "The Wheels of the World/Conundrum." The electric guitar of former Trembling Bells player Ben Reynolds nods to that of Richard Thompson across a number of the tracks here, but what really impresses is the effortlessness with which the instruments meld to realize Roberts' vision...
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