Caught a truly great performance at the Celtic Festival on Friday night…
Alasdair Roberts is a Scottish folk musician. He released a number of albums under the name Appendix Out, and following the 2001 album The Night is Advancing, under his own name.
Roberts was born in Swabia, Germany, the son of former folk guitarist (and partner of Dougie MacLean), Alan Roberts and his German wife Annegret, though he was raised in Kilmahog, a hamlet close to the small town of Callander, near Stirling in central Scotland where he started playing the guitar and writing music. In 1994 he formed ‘Appendix Out’ with school friends Dave Elcock and Kenny McBride and started playing small venues. Roberts was also a classmate of Ladytron’s Helen Marnie.
While attending a Will Oldham concert in 1995, he offered a demo tape to the American singer, and a contract with US label Drag City soon followed. The band’s first release was a double A-side single, “Pissed With You/Ice Age”, and the band released its first album around a year later. After three albums with the ever-changing Appendix Out, Roberts recorded his first solo album, The Crook Of My Arm. This album consisted almost entirely of solo vocals and guitar in marked contrast to the increasingly experimental sound of the Appendix Out records. He has also collaborated with friends and label-mates Will Oldham and Jason Molina, both playing on their albums and on the one-off album, Amalgamated Sons Of Rest. He also played hurdy-gurdy on the soundtrack of the 2003 film Young Adam. This was later released under the title Lead Us Not Into Temptation by David Byrne. His new(ish) album Spoils is out now.
Roberts is noted for both his own compositions and recitations of traditional songs, including on his album of traditional death ballads, No Earthly Man and in 2006 featured in the BBC documentary Folk Britannia. He now lives in Glasgow.