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***Critically-acclaimed, criminally-overachieving Glasgow- based singer and guitarist Alasdair Roberts is known as a superlative original songwriter as well as an interpreter of traditional songs from Scotland and beyond. For the past twenty years, his recordings have alternated between these two complimentary poles, with ‘pop’ records such as The Amber Gatherers and A Wonder Working Stone nestling in his expansive back catalogue alongside “folk” albums such as No Earthly Man and What News (with Amble Skuse and David McGuinness). Additionally, all of these records possess a further dimension, derived from their collation of songs together into one album-length statement. This is part of Alasdair’s great achievement in his career—for him, this thing of music and song hasn’t come the eons it’s travelled to simply entertain.
These impulses fully present and well honed, Alasdair returns to his roots with Grief in the Kitchen and Mirth in the Hall, his fifth full-length collection of traditional song. Recorded live in the studio, it is an entirely solo collection of twelve traditional ballads and songs sparsely arranged for acoustic guitar, piano and voice. The majority of the songs originate in Alasdair’s homeland of Scotland, with a couple from Ireland and one from Prince Edward Island on Canada’s eastern seaboard too.