Album review of Alex Roberts "Waiting On The Sun Again" Like a pebble being dropped in a pond eventually the Alex Roberts ripple effect will inevitably gently wash onto your musical shores and softly but firmly invite your attention. And so it was that Ed Greenfield Of Anderwood Guitars (Alex's uses and endorses Weissenborns by Anderwood Guitars) asked me one day had I heard Alex's new album? Embarrassingly I said I hadn't heard any of his 4 releases to date and so he kindly popped his new album in the post and voila the ripple effect! For when you listen to Alex for the first time it's like meeting an old friend. He tells you intriguing stories and sentimentally reminisces in such a captivating way that familiarity is almost instantaneous. His honed song craft simply draws you in and holds your attention to the very last note. The warmth of his voice and the finger style acoustic approach are perfectly balanced. You can't help to be willingly immersed into his musical landscape that he diligently and seemingly effortlessly creates before your ears.
Drawing on folk, roots and blues influences he weaves a tapestry of fine original works here that as a collective are undeniably charming and captivating. A modern day balladeer he has literally traveled around the world soaking up real life experiences and cultures and then beautifully translated them into his body of works. His approach is sometimes a little raw, sometimes a little sentimental but his delivery is always honest, real and heartfelt.Definite Americana influences throughout, Dylan, and Springsteen spring instantly to mind from a writing point of view and lyrically from the former. From a playing prospective. I can hear many influences (or similarities at least) in Alex's slide technique, from David Lindley to Kelly Joe Phelps shinning through. A potent combination that is surprisingly commercial for a British folk/roots artist, very much in the vein of fellow Brit Martin Harley in many respects as a starting point of reference. But heres the kicker for me, the weissenborn is the corner stone of the instrumentation for the album. With all the attention that O.T. has had lately for his instrumental Weissenborn release then if there's any justice in the world then this must get similar acclaim from the hollow-neck devotees. Because what artist has released an album full of solely Weissenborn based songs.......ever? answers on a postcard please.
"Scratch Marks" kicks things off with languid blues slide intro that is very infectious, and "Here We Stand" offers a rawer blues intro complete with stomp box, but! My only criticism for the whole album for me is the choice of these as opening tracks. They are not indicative of the album as a collective. They zig a little when the remaining album zags. Played live I'm sure they offer lively contrast and variety but Alex pushes his voice just that little bit too far for my liking with some wailing, hollering and lowercase growls that sound just a little too raw for my liking but the delivery is undeniably honest. If you were to listen to only these two tracks your enthusiasm to follow them up would be diminished maybe. Its from track 3 that this albums really shines."Word To A Son" is poignant ballad that is wonderfully Dylanesque to its core. A beautifully crafted weissenborn refrain ebbs and flows throughout this delightful tale of growing up. Everything about this track is just right and so i feel its the standout song on the album. "Someone Knows" runs a close second to the previous song as a contender for standout song. Upbeat and lively with a very catchy melody that dances and skips around the enthralling story Alex lays out before us, a self portrait lyrically speaking perhaps? its another classic example of this mans writing prowess, these two tracks would've made a killer opening duo! Having already featured a live performance video of "The Pyramid" on 'The Weissenborn Information Exchange' you should be familiar with this quick witted lyrical tale of financial wows bound up in a rootsy blues foot tapping progression."High Hopes" is a slow burner, stripped down ballad that playing wise reminds me of David Lindley with those wonderful Dylanesque vocals gliding over the top, yeah this is sweet as and so indicative of what Alex is all about for me, purposeful and clever song craft. "The Little Alchemist" simply follows the blueprint of the last track with a more uptempo delivery before making way to "All you Want" which touches on Van Morrison territory, a great trio of songs indeed. Last but not least "Waiting On The Sun". From a weissenborn players point of view this instrumental is most definitely my favourite. A melting pot of playing styles that showcases Alex's cultured playing techniques. From blues to traditional to folk its a no holds bar Weissenborn who's who of sound bites. This is the title track for obvious reasons as it shines like a national guitar rounding off a superb listening experience.
I have to admit i was a bit worried i wouldn't have much to enthuse about an album from an artist i hadn't heard of before but instead i find myself waxing lyrical about its merits. I cant recommend this album highly enough for my own members of "The Weissenborn Information Exchange" its a must have album for any Weissenborn enthusiast or any afficinardoo of quality acoustica roots/blues/folk music......enjoy
Alex Roberts - "Waiting On The Sun Again"
Review By Aron Radford
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