Blue Rose Code is the creative guise of Edinburgh-born singer-songwriter Ross Wilson, whose fan-base (affectionately named ‘the lovers’) has been growing steadily since the release of his first album, North Ten, in 2013. For his fifth studio album, With Healings Of The Deepest Kind, recorded in the iconic Castlesound Studios, Wilson took full control of the production and assembled a band drawn from the cream of Scotland’s jazz, folk and rock players (most of whom will be familiar to Blue Rose Code aficionados). During the early stages of making the album, Wilson was beset by serious personal issues and it is testament to his resilient spirit, and the loving care of special friends, that he recovered to produce what I believe to be his strongest album so far.
The album draws its title from the last line of Padraig O Tuama’s tender and quietly inspiring poem, What I needed to hear, and it begins with a recitation of the poem, set against a background of hushed, ambient strings and horns and pulsing bass. This segues into the first song, You’re Here And Then You’re Gone, in which Ross Wilson mourns the loss of a dear friend and reflects on the fleeting nature of life. The sense of poignancy is enhanced by a soulful vocal, feathery harmonies, a sweet string arrangement and washes of muted trumpet. The joyful and freewheeling “Love A Little”, swept along on a tide of restless strings, sees Wilson in grateful mode…”Babe, I want to thank you for giving me the chance to love again…” In LDN City Lights, Wilson feels inclined to surrender to the delights of the city’s night life and the exhortation of his vocals is punctuated deliciously by swinging strings and stinging electric guitar fills.
Ross Wilson dreams of a lost love in Bloom, where the bruised beauty of his vocal sits alongside ethereal organ and quietly tumbling acoustic guitar, with the song taken home on the wings of soaring strings…”Another year born, another year gone, another sunrise without you here in my arms.” An ambient, cinematic intro to The Wild Atlantic Way gives way to elegant piano and lush strings, as Wilson reflects with great fondness on a particularly tender moment during a romantic trip to Ireland, days before his daughter was born. Inside a caress of graceful strings and rippling bass, Wilson marvels at the healing and redemptive power of love and the natural elements in Starlit…”This world is not just what you see, it’s what you feel.”
Ross Wilson’s flair for poetic imagery is to the fore in Red Kites, as he sings movingly of a desire to return to the place, physical and/or spiritual, where he found healing and strength of faith. The album closes in majestic fashion, with two of the best songs written by Wilson to date. Firstly, in Denouement, Wilson finds himself in Paris, where he has taken refuge, and reaching the realisation that he will have to face the long journey out of despair without his lost love…”I had to break myself just to feel something.” Wilson’s soulful vocal drips with raw emotion, underscored by poignant strings, a redemptive trumpet solo at the bridge, an achingly beautiful violin solo and graceful piano chords which hang in the air as the song ends. Riverstown, meanwhile, signals a newfound hope and optimism, as Ross Wilson delights in the magic and peace of mind found during a trip to that small village in County Sligo. The carefree vibe is accentuated by elegant, waltz-time strings and a mellow sax solo at the bridge, and this song, perhaps more than any other on the album, personifies the vibrancy and rapture of Blue Rose Code’s unique brand of Caledonian soul.
With Healings Of The Deepest Kind is the strongest and most cohesive set of songs delivered so far by Blue Rose Code and it demands to be widely heard.
With Healings Of The Deepest Kind was released by Ross Wilson/Ronachan Songs on 17th July 2020.