Alasdair Roberts is a Scottish folk musician. He released a number of albums under the name Appendix Out, and following the 2001 album The Night is Advancing, under his own name. Roberts is noted for both his own compositions and recitations of traditional songs, including on his album of traditional death ballads, No Earthly Man.
Roberts was born in Swabia, Germany, to a German mother and Scottish father, though was raised in Kilmahog, a hamlet close to the small town of Callander, near Stirling in central Scotland, where he started playing the guitar and writing music. In 1994 he adopted the name 'Appendix Out' and started playing small venues. This is where he was discovered by American musician Will Oldham, and a contract with US label Drag City was soon to follow.
After three albums with Appendix Out, Roberts recorded his first solo album, The Crook of My Arm, in 2001. This album consisted almost entirely of solo vocals and guitar in marked contrast to the occasionally experimental sound of the Appendix Out records. All the songs are traditional, and Roberts credited the singers from whose performances he'd learnt the songs (these included his father, Alan Roberts, and Alan's sometime musical partner, Dougie MacLean).
Two further albums of traditional folk songs followed: "No Earthly Man" and "Too Long in This Condition", plus three albums of original songs - "Farewell Sorrow", "The Amber Gatherers" and "Spoils". A fourth album of original songs, A Wonder Working Stone, was released in January 2013.
Each album has a distinct character, and Roberts songwriting has shifted in recent years from the relative economy of "Farewell Sorrow" and "The Amber Gatherers" to a much denser wordplay, filled with allusions to mythology, esoteric spirituality and gnosticism, on "Spoils" and subsequent releases.