Mairi Morrison & Alasdair Roberts Urstan

Mairi Morrison & Alasdair Roberts Urstan
Alasdair Roberts has spent the best part of the last ten years dedicated to reviving traditional Scottish folk tunes, as well as writing some great original music in that vein. On Urstan, Roberts collaborates with singer Mairi Morrison, backed by a host of Glasgow-based musicians, for an album of covers and several originals, with the majority of the tracks in Gaelic, leaving only four of the record's 12 numbers sung in English. Morrison takes the lead on some tracks, Roberts on others, including a reworking of "The Whole House is Singing," which originally appeared on Roberts' sophomore album, Farewell Sorrow. Urstan spans a variety of tempos and moods, from the whimsical "Làrach do Thacaidean" to the more conventional, undulating ballad, "Never Wed An Old Man." Far less intense and much brighter than Roberts' usual output, Urstan is a sumptuous, rewarding release of Scottish folk revival tunes dripping authenticity. This is at once an important documentation of Gaelic musical culture and an enjoyable, highly accessible folk record in its own right. (Drag City)