Blue Rose Code's Ross lives for playing live
by Margaret Chrystall
THERE is a new album on the horizon for Ross Wilson, the man behind Blue Rose Code, but first there are some tour dates bringing him back to Inverness and playing for the first time in Ullapool.
With rave reviews for his last album The Water of Leith, new songs are gathering and he has studio time booked for May, but Ross is sharing his favourite thing about music.
“It’s being in front of an audience,” he said.
“I am someone who feels I have always lived my life on the fringes. I have never really felt part of something and have always felt like that wee laddie outside the toyshop looking in, even into adulthood.
“It is just part of who I am really. It’s something I have come to embrace and can use in a positive way.
“I always struggled – until I found music – to communicate who I was and what I wanted to say.
“But there is a real rarefied, spiritual moment when I’m onstage and performing and the audience gives of themselves.
“That moment – and I’m not a religious guy – I’ve had it in church, I’ve had it at football matches, I’ve had it at concerts.
“It’s that bit where the audience and the performer are connected in a way that is beyond our five senses. It’s something that we feel viscerally but probably don’t have the words to explain. That’s my favourite part of being a musician.”
He laughed: “There are other bits of my job that are a real pain, but I think it’s really important to accept that.
“My friend Danny Thompson, my favourite double bassist, he always says the gig is for free, it’s all the other stuff we get paid for.”
Brought up in Leith, Ross spent time living and pursuing music in London before moving back to Scotland, now living between Eyemouth and Manchester and admitting a try at country life just isn’t him.
“I’ve discovered I’m not really built for the countryside.
“I spent 15 years living in London and it has given me everything I am today.
“Scotland is the country of my birth. London is the guy that made me the man that I am.
“For me life is about being outward facing. If I spend time looking inward it makes me miserable.
“I’m really a city kid. That energy is really what moves me. I find myself inspired by city life.”
Ross revealed he is increasingly embracing the traditional side of Scottish music, playing with musicians such as Julie Fowlis and Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes, Angus Lyon and Ross Ainslie – he hopes to have some on the next album.
“As I get older I’m more interested in the musical history of Scotland and the musical history of who I am as a Scotsman. I think that when I was a young guy, I never wanted to look backwards. I felt that was conservative.”
But looking forward the signs seem good as Ross gets back on the road.
“I need to start sitting down and tying up these ideas I’ve had swimming round for months. And now there is a rainbow in front of me, so I don’t know what that means!”
Blue Rose Code plays a double bill with Astrid’s Willie Campbell and Charlie Clark at the Ceilidh Place Ullapool, on Saturday, March 9; Eden Court on Monday, March 11. Full interview: www.whatson-north.co.uk