Evoking Celtic Memories
If you’ve ever been to Scotland, you know what it feels like to enter a warm pub on a freezing cold Scottish winter’s evening to the strains of highland pipes, guitars, and Celtic whistles during a folk jam. It’s a sensation you cannot find anywhere else, no matter how alike people want to believe Britain and the United State are. You can smell the hops on the wet Edinburgh air, and taste the ales and 60 shilling. The music of Alasdair Roberts evokes these memories for some, which makes his music something of a specific flavor for listeners with specific frames of reference and experiences.
Roberts himself hails from Scotland; Glasgow to be precise, and his Celtic roots shine through in the medieval flavor of the music. Though this is his seventh record, Roberts has chosen this one to self-title as if he’s truly getting started now. Nevertheless, the music on the record strikes the listener as something he has been doing for a long time, clearly loves, and clearly has mastered. Where it evokes memories of Scotland for some, for others it could churn up their memories of Renaissance Fair days gone by. In other words, it’s an acquired taste. It’s folk music for a very specific audience, akin to hearing folk music from just about any other country. It speaks to a certain pride in the culture, memories, or even an academic interest. Not all music lovers will be looking for the sometimes-antiquated lyrics and Roberts’ Woody Guthrie-esque voice. But those who might take an interest in, say, old sea shanties from the whaling days of Connecticut and other New England ports, might find Roberts’ music compelling.