We’ve been eagerly awaiting the new album from Blue Rose Code and this week a taster was unveiled in the shape of a four song EP, Grateful, in anticipation of And Lo! The Bird Is On The Wing which will be released in January with a launch show at Celtic Connections. Following on from the acclaimed The Ballads Of Peckham Rye, Grateful is further evidence of Ross Wilson’s magisterial song writing while the performances are simply stunning.
The title song is a sumptuous slow-paced celebration of life with Wilson crooning in best John Martyn style over stately piano and keening pedal steel, his voice superbly buttressed by the graceful presence of Gospel singers, The McCrary Sisters. It weeps and exults equally and bodes well for the new album. A video of the song has been released comprising snippets sent to Wilson by fans who were asked to record their reasons for being grateful: it’s quite moving.
Midnight’s Mass In Suffolk’s Breast has a Christmas theme and its spritely pace with no sleigh bells in sight is reason enough to welcome it but again Wilson comes up with a winner. The jazz tinged folk verses recall Robert Kirby’s arrangements for Nick Drake especially on the piano playing while the chorus soars with celebration. My Heart, The Sun is a remix by James Yuill (who remixed Blue Rose Code’s Whitechapel some years ago), its throbbing beat and synthed sounds showcasing Wilson’s eclectic tastes while his words remain poetic. The EP closes with a magnificent performance of In The Morning recorded live for Radio Scotland’s Roddy Hart show. Playing as a six piece with piano, cello, drums, double bass and guitars the piece billows gently along on a perfect breeze of Celtic folk, it ripples and eddies wonderfully and captures well the live Blue Rose Code experience.