Dreams Music presents Blue Rose Code and Milly Hirst at The Bicycle Shop, Norwich, 30th October 2013. Review.
Fresh from her two appearances on BBC6 Music last week – including a ‘headphone moment’ for Heptonstall Old Church, which she performed tonight, solo, which she described as feeling a bit unnatural without her good friend Jess joining her on vocals. Singing and playing tonight with that assurance and ease which has marked her recent performances, she played a gorgeous set that included I Still, Gentle Sailor, and Rose amongst others – she seemed to be enjoying playing almost as much as the rapt audience were enjoying listening. Always expressive and singing with genuine emotion Milly really does seem to be as relaxed and comfortable playing at the moment as I have ever heard her and these performances are, as Ross Wilson later rightly said during his set, “Mesmerising”.
Headline act for the evening, Blue Rose Code, is Ross Wilson, originally from Edinburgh but now based in London, who performed a thoroughly engaging and impressive set of personal songs full of soul and some amazing guitar work which at times was just breathtaking. He sings from the heart and plays some truly wonderful guitar, and between songs engages fully with the audience (packed tonight) even getting them singing along to his song which was featured in Hollyoaks (knowing nothing about this programme this song was no better known to me than the others but no less enjoyable for that), wishing “Bless you” without even breaking rhythmic stride to the person in the audience who sneezed and getting people to introduce themselves before joining in on the chorus. Highly impressive and likable he received a tremendous ovation from the whole room.
London-based / Edinburgh-born Blue Rose Code is singer/songwriter Ross Wilson. Blue Rose Code’s beautiful, classic sounding songs have been described as ‘Caledonian soul’.
Forthcoming debut album ‘North Ten’ is to be released by Reveal Records (home to Lau, Joan As Police Woman, Kris Drever, Roddy Woomble etc) a perfect fit for an artist’s who’s debut features legendary bassist Danny Thompson (Kate Bush, John Martyn, Talk Talk etc).
Raised in a council high rise by his grandmother on the east side on Edinburgh, Wilson skipped school to endlessly listen to his records. Ross found solace in music, but soon became addicted to the drink and drugs he had been heavily consuming in an effort to escape a troubled upbringing.
Following the death of his grandmother Ross escaped to London, dogged by alcoholism and addiction and despite his troubles, Blue Rose Code was formed and soon started to get rave reviews for early live performances. Through 2009 and 2010 Blue Rose Code shared the stage with many celebrated writers including Bert Jansch, Kris Drever, King Creosote, John Renbourn and James Yorkston.
In early 2012, now healthy and with a stunning batch of new songs, Ross was encouraged by his publishers Ho-Hum Music to record a debut album. Blue Rose Code were then chosen by hipster clothing brand Aubin & Wills as the subject of a documentary ‘The Modern Craftsman’ about the recording of his debut ‘North Ten’ in Somerset and a recent promo film for the brand featuring Alex James (Blur) aired online soundtracked by Blue Rose Code.
words and photos © all rights reserved, richard shashamane 2013