April 22nd, 2023
The ‘Blue Rose Code’ performed at Perth’s theatre on High Street as part of their 2023 UK tour; so I made my way up to take their gig in. They jumped on to the 123 year old stage in a small but resplendent venue royally decorated. The build up was in a comfortable space and the gig (or style of gig) was one of all seating making the experience one of focused attention on the music and the abundantly confident musicians; two guitars, bass, percussion and keyboard, and the well welcomed vocalist Ross Wilson
Someone whispered in my ear that there was a little difference to the evening’s proceedings in that out of the Perth theatre and concert hall music would normally be in the concert hall but there is the Agatha Christie’s play called ‘the Mousetrap’ held there instead, this felt like a good omen in an already interesting evening.
Ross Wilson has been writing and playing for ten years as Blue Rose Code, I’m not sure where he got the name but it’s an effective one as he reaches very deeply into the soul of singing and performing with a great voice that reverberated among us as his audience for whom he stood out to ensure this great reach.
The evening would be a dedication to a ten year celebration in a night called ‘Blue Rose Code; 10 Years Grace’ which alludes to it being ten years since the debut release in 2013 (all those years ago) of the album called ‘North ten’ and the set list was this album in sequence, although the second set was for fresh music and it came from the stage filled with mystery and wonder.
Every possible nail was knocked on the head as we were treated to harmonies in such a variety of styles and shapes of music. With the lead kicking up very fancy work on the guitar as though he was sowing seeds in a field, though his smart dress did not go unnoticed. Their appearance was casual from the way that they were dressed we felt a great individuality to be of an important aspect and this bond of individualism sparked and complimented this truly great and vastly talented act.
It had a sense of something you’ve never seen or heard before such was its freshness, and originality. Taking styles from as many places as possible to even them out in distinctive and very instinctive genre making. They are known to for example blend an American/jazz and even have a taste of pop tough I didn’t really see that.
Instead for me there was a grace present that Ross’ creations in music have gathered to quite a momentum at time reminding of James Brown with a song writing style not entirely unakin to the tones of that other Scottish artist/musician John Martyn.
It was all forth righteous and willing to strip bare the world he inhabits and makes his songs each have rights of their own. And following his lyrics and keeping us up to date with his travels the words were written in a very poetically charged talent whether celebrating or describing many of his life’s tender moments. Of which he has backed up his story by leaving home for a destination many hundreds of miles away to find success for his and his mates to enjoy.
His untiring sense of wonder and love has clearly blessed this band, forming a music that can be classed way up beyond the hemisphere of human experience and no little emotion. His skills had the whole room in a blessing as he busied himself and burrowed deep into an eye widening performance of immaculate, original and totally organically born music.
We took this in under the gallery above us where Ross’s gaze reached in his skilful appraisal in a kind totality that stretched across the deep stage. Wilful, sad, tunefully joyful and being overwhelmed with life’s possibilities; all had the presence of love and we were straightened in an admirable bringing of the sheer quality and sharp style that had everything involved; unwavering and deeply natural; a well known band, to well loved fans and at a cutting edge of its musical mastery of nuance.