Blue Rose Code, in Perth Concert Hall’s Norie-Miller Studio on Friday 24 April, is not folk music. Or so he’s been told. Ross Wilson, the Edinburgh-born songwriter who performs under that name, doesn’t write folk songs. But having discovered the traditional music of the British Isles whilst in exile down south, he fell in love with what he heard and those sounds informed what happened next.
2014 has been some year for Blue Rose Code. Ross made his TV debut on the BBC. Lead single, One Day At A Time, was playlisted on BBC Radio Scotland and Ross has done sessions for BBC Radio 2 , for Another Country with Ricky Ross and for Bruce MacGregor's Travelling Folk. But, to top it all, Blue Rose Code took legend, long-time fan and musical collaborator, Danny Thompson out on tour last Autumn for a number of sold out shows.
It's the respect and support shown for the music of Blue Rose Code's by a pantheon of award winning musicians that illustrates the high-regard in which Ross is held or, as Bob Harris puts it "Blue Rose Code is a very important emerging singer/songwriter".
Ross describes his music as “audibly Scottish, Caledonian Soul” a term borrowed from the music of Van Morrison. Nevertheless, the estimable Bob Harris was so struck by Ross’s acutely personal, bruised and soul-bared songs he flew to Nashville for the BBC Introducing showcase at the 2013 Americana Music Association conference.
"I guess that I'm a crossover artist,” says Ross. “I'm just not sure from where I'm crossing over or where I'm going to end up." It's that reluctance to be boxed or pigeon-holed that has earned Blue Rose Code a burgeoning and fiercely loyal fan-base across the UK and beyond, with folks travelling from far and wide to see his three-night sell out show at last year's Edinburgh Fringe.
At the start of his career, Ross sent demos to folk clubs in the hope of a gig. One promoter posted his CD back with a post-it note, scrawled in red that simply said: “Your music is not folk.” You can’t argue with that. Or can you?
Ross’s latest album The Ballads of Peckham Rye featured a roll call of guest musicians including Aidan O’Rourke which links nicely to the upcoming Lau gig in Perth Concert Hall on Friday 15 May.
The Bell That Never Rang is the hugely anticipated new album and tour from the U.K’s most musically revered and celebrated folk trio Lau.
Produced and recorded in Scotland by Brooklyn songwriter and musician Joan Wasser (Joan As Police Woman) The Bell That Never Rang (out May 4th on Reveal Records) is Lau’s strongest artistic statement yet.
Since their debut album in 2007 Lau have picked up four awards for ‘Best Group’ at the BBC Radio 2 Folk awards and the individual members have all won multiple awards and recognition for their acclaimed solo works.
At the heart of the new album lies the epic seventeen minute title track a collaboration with acclaimed London string section The Elysian Quartet. Elsewhere on the album echoes of the downtown New York music scene (that producer Joan Wasser inhabits) can be heard influencing Lau’s artistic vision. Singer-guitarist Kris Drever’s heartfelt lyrics come wrapped in brittle electric guitar, deep soundscapes and haunting string melodies.
Lau are: Kris Drever (vocals, guitar), Martin Green (accordion, wurlitzer, keys, electronics) and Aidan O’Rourke (fiddle)
Lau are supported by Glasgow-born singer songwriter Siobhan Wilson. She cites Nina Simone, John Martyn and Perfume Genuis among her influences and is building a growing reputation as one of Scotland's finest emerging talents.
For tickets and info on Blue Rose Code in Perth Concert Hall’s Norie-Miller Studio on Friday 24 April click here, for Lau in Perth Concert Hall on Friday 15 May, click here; alternatively, call Horsecross Arts Box Office on 01738 621031. The Lau gig is followed by Transformations, a free late night music, art and fashion event in Perth Concert Hall foyer.