Amber Gatherers


aec.drgc326.2 1/23/07 New

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Review Text On 2005's No Earthly Man, Scottish singer/songwriter Alasdair Roberts offered up eight traditional ballads with minimal accompaniment. That he pulled it off without nailing the listeners eyes shut within the first two minutes is a testament to both his gift as an interpreter, and his reedy, yet impossibly fluid and melodious voice. On the Amber Gatherers, Roberts balances regional folk songs with his own self-penned odes to heartache, death and drink, successfully blurring the line between the two like a young Nic Jones or Martin Carthy. A full band is employed this time around, and their lightly brushed drums, fingerpicked guitars, accordions, and backing vocals wrap themselves around Roberts' careful phrasing like a winter coat. Standout tracks such as "I Had a Kiss of the King's Hand," "Cruel War" and "Old Men of the Shells" sound like lost cuts from the late-'60s and early-'70s British folk heydays, and a hand-drawn map of the U.K. with songtitles for cities, as well as a handy tuning chart that explains where to capo your guitar for each song, gives the whole affair a rustic, communal vibe that manages to avoid feeling contrived. ~ James Christopher Monger

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Riddle Me This - 4:48
  2. 2. Where Twines the Path - 4:50
  3. 3. Waxwing - 4:13
  4. 4. I Had a Kiss of the King's Hand - 4:37
  5. 5. Cruel War - 3:15
  6. 6. Let Me Lie and Bleed Awhile - 4:46
  7. 7. Firewater - 4:58
  8. 8. River Rhine - 4:33
  9. 9. I Have a Charm - 4:02
  10. 10. Old Men of the Shells - 5:08
  11. 11. Calfless Cow - 2:14

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