Alasdair Roberts, Pumajaw and My Kappa Boots (3 stars)

Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh, Thu 26 Oct


Among a particular breed of Scots folkie, Alasdair Roberts holds somewhat legendary status. His music is more precisely traditional than the updated styles of the Fence Collective-affiliated alt.folkers, yet - under his own name and as the lynchpin of folk collective Appendix Out - he has released records on Rough Trade and Drag City which feature Will Oldham and Isobel Campbell.

This great-value show by new Edinburgh promoters Tracer Trails proved his music to be a love it or hate it affair. Many seemed underwhelmed by the gentle guitar, olde English lyrics, and almost exaggerated enunciation. Yet, just as many were enthralled by his crisp storytelling and almost angelic voice - for the purposes of this review, he’s an acquired taste, but one that’s worth the effort to appreciate.

Sadly, flu kept septuagenarian folk hero Duncan Williamson from his planned support slot, but Pumajaw (aka Fence associates Pinkie McClure and John Wills) stepped in capably. Playing a deathly kind of folk on guitar and accordion, McClure’s voice is an atmospheric blend of Marianne Faithfull and Sandy Denny, while the great second support My Kappa Roots -" young Fifer Pablo Clark - played a pared-down, more modern solo take on Roberts’ own style.

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