Blue Rose Code is Ross Wilson, sometimes with others, sometimes not. He seems to have come out of nowhere for me; I first saw his picture on Coda’s website, posing with a copy of Songs in the Key of Life in his hand, so I realised there was something good going on.
He may have a back story, but it’s close to his chest. He is not a young man, but I’m not aware of him having been around the Edinburgh music scene forever. What I can piece together from the songs and from comments made at shows is that he is from Edinburgh, had “issues,” went to London, got better, then came back to Edinburgh. Edinburgh certainly means a lot to him and crops up either explicitly or by allusion in the work. His beautiful Edina (Robert Fergusson’s poetic name for Edinburgh,) opens with this stunning couplet, before asking “Would you forgive me? What do you say Edina?”
I often think about the nights,
the times before I learnt that all my days’ve got a number…
I first saw him opening for Ethan Johns last year, just him and a female co-vocalist, it piqued my interest and I got his second album “The Ballads of Peckham Rye,” (noting the Muriel Spark, so obliquely Edinburgh, reference) and loved it. Saw him with a band at one of three sold out shows at The Edinburgh Fringe last year, then again with a better band toward the end of the year when I got his first album North Ten, which I also enjoyed.
And now we have this live recording, which in many ways consolidates where he has got to with his work – songs from each of the albums are given unique new readings, harnessing the talents of the (unaccredited) musicians with whom he was playing that night…it’s all grand stuff, although I would have lived without the thing that sounds like an Omnichord…
Blue Rose Code are appearing at The Voodoo Rooms on Sunday 26 April and I look forward to the next chapter.