What is it with the first-night-of-the-month gigs at The Glad Café, this excellent small venue on Glasgow’s Southside?
I ask the question because for the second time this year I was at a gig there on the 1st and was bouncing with pleasure on the way home. It happened on May Day as well when Dan Stuart and Antonio Gramentieri played a simmering set that had me thinking: “gig of the year.”
But, now on October 1, Blue Rose Code jumped into contention for the title following a marvellous and heartfelt show, full of style, fine musicianship, excellent vocals and a warmth that makes being at a live outing so uplifting.
Touring his wonderful album, “The Ballads of Peckham Rye” Blue Rose Code (aka the hugely personable, Ross Wilson from Edinburgh) turned in a flawless performance. He jokes that he’s a cross-over artist without being sure just where he’s crossed from or to but I don’t think he need worry about that: he can have no concern when he flawlessly features folk, soul, country, Celtic nuances and more in his impressive songbook with subtle shades of John Martyn, Van Morrison, Ray la Montagne even in his singing.
On opener, Silent Drums the Fairports and Matthews Southern Comfort also seeped into view while Ross hit a soulful flow that was way beyond gorgeous. There was a mellow fluidity and purity to the music with its satisfying delivery in no small measure down to the talented ensemble gathered to play with Ross.
Delicate and inventive supporting vocals from Wrenne edged against and melted into Ross’ excellent leading man role at the mic.
Simon Felice’s “go to man” in the UK, MG Boulter on pedal steel and resonator, Lyle Watt (guitar and mandolin) and the sturdy and impeccable presence of Nico Bruce on double bass all ensured these elegant and thoughtful songs were heard at their very best.
One Day At A Time was sublime and Oh North felt like chunky country from Michael Nesmith. Boscombe Armistice, the opening track on the album, can simply be described as a masterpiece with its varying moods and pace, showcasing the inventiveness and sheen of the writing.
Scotland, by poet, Hugh MacDiarmid, gave us a glorious insight into a current musical project as well as an assurance that Blue Rose Code was signaling his intention to share more of his deftly crafted works with us. For me, he can do that any time he chooses – and on any day of the month.
Pic: Mike Ritchie.