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A Wonder Working Stone
"A collection of varied new epics, Alasdair's latest is by turns metaphysical, cosmological, phantasmagorical, topical, personal, and universal. This is Alasdair's most ambitious, fully-realized work to date (an extraordinary claim following the incredible excursions made on his recent releases Spoils and Too Long in This Condition). A Wonder Working Stone continues Alasdair's long-standing love affair and deeply creative interaction with the traditional music of has native Scotland (and beyond), offering an idiosyncratic and nuanced radicalization of that tradition. Indeed, he questions the very notion of 'tradition' in the modern age, with songs addressing topics such as mortality (as ever), life, love, sex, faith, and history. There is a meditation on loss -- the losing of self, of the music of the nation? -- that is belied and ultimately denied by the lively nature of the work. The arrangements of A Wonder Working Stone are dense with the music of friends, realizing the lifeblood of community, and throughout the album, they are presented with raucously cinematic flair. In the middle of it all, Roberts delivers his unique 'scordatura' finger style guitar and distinctive tenor vocals with the backing of a core group of among Glasgow's finest musicians -- Ben Reynolds (electric guitar), Shane Connolly (drums), Rafe Fitzpatrick (fiddle, rap), Stevie Jones (bass), and with special guest vocals from Olivia Chaney, as well as appearances from many other fine players on strings, brass, flute and accordion, all of which edify and expand the musical world of Alasdair Roberts and all those friends who listen."