Second track from Refugee – ‘Scarce Of Fishing’

Scarce Of Fishing

The second track from the Refugee compilation album has surfaced.

‘Scarce of Fishing’ is the contributed track from Scottish singer/songwriter Alasdair Roberts. Premiered on Brooklyn Vegan, the folk artist has had previous support from the likes of Uncut, Pitchfork, BBC, The Observer, The Times, and much more, before joining the ‘Refugee’ project, spearheaded by fellow musician Robin Adams.

The project got it’s first exposure with the first track which dropped a few weeks back – ‘Most People’ is the contribution from Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. Listen to the single, which premiered on Pitchfork.

Featuring Richard Dawson, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Linda Thompson, Alasdair Roberts, Ricky Ross, BMX Bandits and many more, the Refugee album is a united effort from some of folk’s most esteemed and cult figures, who’ve contributed an original or unreleased song each to the Refugee project.

Refugee (out digitally on July 5th through Brainfog) is a highly significant collaborative recording project which reflects, through song, the issue of the refugee crisis in its many forms, from Syria and beyond. It’s been curated by Scottish folk artist Robin Adams, who called on his close friends and musical colleagues from around the world to contribute to the project.

Each track is an unreleased original song, with contributions from the likes of the above artists. All proceeds go to the MOAS organisation (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) who’ve saved more than 13,000 lives since 2013 in the Mediterranean Sea. Read more on them at www.moas.eu.

Listen to ‘Scarce Of Fishing’:

Refugee project introduced by Robin Adams

Refugee

Unreleased and original tracks from Bonnie Prince Billy,
Linda Thompson, Alasdair Roberts and more

All proceeds go to MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station)

Released on June 3rd 2016 through Brainfog Records

Refugee is a highly significant collaborative recording project which reflects, through song, the issue of the refugee crisis in its many forms, from Syria and beyond.

The concept came about from singer-songwriter Robin Adams who took on the challenging role of curator for this beautiful collection of music. Featuring the likes of folk familiars Linda Thompson, Bonnie Prince Billy, Rachel Sermanni, BMX Bandits, Richard Dawson and many more, each song stands with individual character, yet the delicate ties of each subject make this a well-formed and consistent body of work. As Adams says about the collection:

 “What amazes me is that every song works. Every song seems to fit the sentiment of the record effortlessly even though the songs vary largely in subject and spirit.”

A poignant and moving assembly of songs, the album contains perspectives from different visions in the crisis. Focusing in on the issues addressed, the subject matter leans toward one particular area of the refugee’s journey – the daring move to cross the oceans. From the warm home recording of ‘Scarce of Fishing’ by Alasdair Roberts, to Richard Dawson’s chanting ‘To The Sea’, and to Adam’s own beautiful contribution ‘The Devil’s War and God’s Blue Sea’ (the single which spawned the initial concept), the topic keeps surfacing as a reminder of the overall cause – to raise money for MOAS, whose rescue missions operate in the Aegean, Andaman and Mediterranean Sea.

“The first and foremost priority should be getting these people safely to dry ground and so MOAS was always the obvious choice. Their work has already saved around 12,000 lives in the first two years. All of the money made from this album will go straight to MOAS to aid them in saving more lives… Although the motivation for the record was primarily sparked by the Syrian crisis, there are so many other Countries enduring humanitarian crises, so the record is really dedicated to all refugees.”

Here are some further details on the project from the curator of the project and contributor, Robin Adams.

“Around the beginning of last year I found myself increasingly disturbed by a growing number of reports from many reputable independent media outlets, not only describing the horror of the Syrian crisis itself but also a shocking lack of coverage in the mainstream media. What little coverage there was I found to be deeply troubling given the insensitive nature of the reporting.

All of this moved me to write a song that directly addressed the problem. The obvious thing to do was to release it digitally via Bandcamp as a charity single to raise money for MOAS At the time [of the single], the severity of the crisis hadn’t quite resonated with the general public, because it simply wasn’t being reported frequently or clearly enough in the mainstream media. Months later there was a shift in awareness after [the media] published heartbreaking photographs in September 2015 of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi washed ashore on a Turkish beach. That moment seemed to turn public perception on the crisis around very quickly.

It occurred to me that organising a charity album might be the best way I could help. I got in touch with anyone I could think of whose music I admired and asked if they’d be interested in contributing. I just asked if they’d like to write a song or contribute something new which they felt might be fitting. The response was wonderful and it just grew from there.”

MOAS website: https://www.moas.eu/

ROBIN ADAMS – The Garden (Backshop Records BSRCD004)

The GardenThe Garden is the second album from a young singer-songwriter from Glasgow. He plays acoustic guitar and harmonica and is supported on one track by Pete Harvey on cello. I like the record but I’m also troubled by it and I’m going to say at the outset that this album needs a lyric sheet.

The title track, which opens the album, is ostensibly about boxing so ‘The Garden’ is presumably the one in that now stands on Pennsylvania Plaza. Of course, it could be about Vincent Van Gogh so there are multiple meanings; a deliberate ambiguity. Robin exhibits a rather Dylanesque turn of musical phrase here. The melody is, in places, a second cousin to ‘Chimes Of Freedom’ but none the worse for that. He switches immediately to a lighter romantic mood with ‘Paint Me The Day’, ‘Keep Me’ and ‘Troubled Skies’. I’m generally too old for this sort of thing and I might have given up on the record at this point but the last of these has a haunting quality which draws you back to it. I’ve re-evaluated this song several times.

Robin’s Dylan streak re-emerges on ‘Right To Run’ which borrows from ‘Walls Of Red Wing’. It’s a good song though, for me possibly the best on the album, with a complex message and here’s one place where I want to read his words as well as hear them. The same is true of ‘Street’ and ‘Holy Smoke’ (the song with the cello) – there’s poetry here that I need to assimilate.

If it’s true that an artist’s best material goes into the first leaving him or her scrabbling around for material when it comes to the second then Robin has done a fine job here. Let’s see where it takes him.

Dai Jeffries

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Artist’s website: https://www.facebook.com/robinadamsband

‘Holy Smoke’ from The Garden:

Robin Adams – new album and single

Holy Smoke

New single – ‘Holy Smoke’

The Garden, the fourth studio album from Glaswegian acoustic performer Robin Adams, most certainly has a 19th century aesthetic throughout. Much of the album’s content stems from a huge influence from the life and death of Vincent Van Gogh, Adams’ lyrics really channelling his profound appreciation for the man and his seemingly unflinching dedication to his work, and the sacrifices he made for art’s sake. He notes how Van Gogh’s relationship with both the darkness and the light of existence were so inherently tied to his unique expressive art form, and in order for him to capture these wild energies in his work, he had to first invite them and become them, often to his physical and mental detriment, going on to say;

“He was willing to put himself through that turmoil without question, regardless of a distinct lack of success. That is something that as an individual scares me and as a songwriter and artist I am in awe of. I soon realised that his influence on me was far too substantial to be worked into one song. His effect on me was more deserving of a full body of work and so it unravelled from me very naturally and quickly. Most of creativity is stumbling on the muse and then everything else tends to fall into place.”

Drawing on influences like Bert Jansch, Nick Drake, John Fahey, Vincent Van Gogh, Neutral Milk Hotel and Arthur Rimbaud, the record has a predominant theme throughout. Although two of the ten songs are themed on the tragedy of war and one poem in particular by Arthur Rimbaud, ‘Sleeper in the Valley’, the rest of the songs are based around the character of the archetypal struggling artist; struggling being a state that Adams knows all too well. For in spite of his numerous awards (The Burns Song Award, The Billy Kelly Songwriting Award, Emerging Excellence Award) a chronic illness has held him back from realising any kind of touring schedule. His previous record, Wilt, documented these darker times, selling out its limited run, finding popularity thanks to its claustrophobic and gloomy qualities.

Even the recording process was deeply personal. The entire album was recorded by Adams on his own, in a bedroom over looking a garden.

“I approached every song as I imagined Van Gogh might have went at a painting. There had to be the capturing of a moment, there had to be a rawness and a truth in every performance. If I didn’t transcend in some respect during the song, I knew it wasn’t acceptable.”

The Garden is released on April 13th through Backshop Records.

Artist’s website:  www.facebook.com/robinadamsband

‘Holy Smoke’ – the official video:

“Holy Smoke is a beautiful, insightful piece of music.” – Clash 

**** – Q Magazine

“Strummed ruminations worthy of John Martyn” – The Skinny ****