Record review: Alasdair Roberts – A Wonder Working Stone [Drag City]

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My dear fellows we are all gathered today to celebrate the seventh studio album of Scottish troubadour Alasdair Roberts, the album entitled A Wonder Working Stone is the second album to be attached with the “& friends” tag.

The 67-minute LP exposes once again that the Scottish folk singer-songwriter is nothing but extremely talented.

He embodies a counter culture by himself, producing his own music with his particular style, far away from the media spotlights and other superficial reverberations coming from the pop world.

A Wonder Working Stone unveils modern poetry with a twist; symphonies and ballads collide to create this enchanted universe where the folk singer invites us all in, however even if the first track, “The Merry Wake” implies that whatever happens in life, Carpe Diem always prevails.

The next few songs express the idea of an upcoming disaster while keeping the overall mood high up, listeners will dance and drink to the majority of these songs and Roberts’ voice will soothe and appease people from their everyday problems.

Roberts’ friends, who include Welsh violinist Rafe Fitzpatrick, drummer Shane Connolly and guitarist Ben Reynolds and many more, create this cohesion that gives a particular taste to every song.

The formula works, the songs are cast like spells from and old and dusty book, the first few making you feel like you just arrived in Middle-Earth, one can find themselves estranged in this world, but the music mixes traditional folklore with a communal and contemporary sense of lyricism that would give anyone a smile.

Even with the mood swings, the album is captivating because of its natural beauty and its message: “get over your tiny self/ all days will end in joy/ they’ll never end in evil”.

Words: Jeremy Veyret

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