Big cuts into twisted seams of folk gold here, or, in less poncy terms: really lovely music from two great artists. Alasdair Roberts is hushed and bang on in his gatherings of ancient and modern acoustic greatness. Sitting in the rickety cinema seats with a cold beer is going to be a total treat. As always, the QU Junktions website has details of their upcoming gigs, some of which should probably be illegal.

Alasdair Roberts

with Cath & Phil Tyler

at Cube Cinema
(Tue 20th Apr 2010 / 7.30pm / £7)
“Scottish folk singer Alasdair Roberts is an anomaly. His appropriation of antique songs calls to mind the prospecting of Daniel Day-Lewis’s oilman in There Will Be Blood: he performs the subterranean, hardscrabble toil of research, then plunges his drill down deep, coming back with black gold.” – The Independent

We are very happy to welcome back this nimble and sure-footed troubadour of a special kind to The Cube. To listen to Ali Roberts sing his first song of a set is akin to reading the opening page of an engrossing epic – you know there will be monsters, romance, and death ahead, all brought alive by a master weaver of myth, melodies and moralities. You get collared quickly and thrown into the deep end, and as your eyes, ears and imagination adjust, laid bare is a world unlike any other but poetically reconcilable to the one you exist in.

Roberts’ repertoire is made up of his own compositions and jewels from the treasure trove of timeless Scottish folk songs he regularly plunders, delivering songs with his own deftly intricate guitar playing and a voice both bold and subject to fragility.

His most recent album ‘Spoils’ on Drag City (his fifth) is widely regarded as his artistically most successful yet, and appeared in several recent end-of-year polls. The last four of Roberts’ albums have been on the large American indie Drag City and he has shared stages with Joanna Newsom, Magnolia Electric Co, Smog and countless others. He keeps good company for sure.

“With an extraordinary vocabulary of deliberate archaisms and seductive, and beautifully artificial, metre, Roberts has found a new way to remake the traditions that are folk’s primary fuel” – The Wire

Cath & Phil Tyler are singers and players who extract raw and powerful emotions from folk music. Theirs is a music that goes direct to the source, mining through their own contacts and treasure troves such as the Anne & Frank Warner Collection and the Sacred Harp song book, re-interpreting or adding their own music, and surfacing with pure gold.

Phil’s fine guitar and banjo, Cath’s earthen voice, her barebones fiddle-playing and their haunted harmonies all make for an exquisitely minimal, beautifully scything delivery. Bare witness this fine couple.

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  1. This is now cancelled. Dude’s stuck in Portugal. Sob.

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