Blue Rose Code

Posted on Sunday 26th November 2017 21:50 by FreckFest

There was a moment last Friday night when the melodies tumbling from Ross Wilson’s acoustic guitar floated out into the ether, swirled just above the heads of the rapt audience and weaved in and out of the beautiful noise created by the electric piano on the right and the electric guitar on the left and hung suspended for the briefest of moments. This was music you could practically touch, reach out and put in your pocket, the combined talents of three musicians creating something that was far greater than the sum of their parts.



Ross Wilson, the main focus of Blue Rose Code is an incredibly talented singer/songwriter and he’s canny enough to surround himself with the best players on the scene. Booked for two nights, he’d promised us two different line-ups and two different sets. Aware of his status as a must-see live act and the likelihood that some people would buy tickets for both nights, he set about creating two individual shows that transcended everything we’ve done this year.


On the Friday, Ross was accompanied by the ironically-monickered ’Wild’ Lyle Watt on electric guitar.  Lyle is a quietly flash player. Hiding behind a fringe as long as the walk from the Mall to the HAC, his fingers traced rivers of liquid mercury across the frets; meandering jazzy interludes one moment, gorgeous chiming chords the next, the perfect foil for Ross’s own intricately-picked acoustic melodies.

His chance to shine in the spotlight came when Ross launched the trio into a spontaneous version of Pink Floyd’s ‘Breathe’, played out in pin-drop fashion to an audience almost too afraid to breathe themselves for fear of breaking the spell. It was a spectacular moment, matched only by the performance of ‘Bluebell’ from Blue Rose Code’s current album ‘The Water Of Leith’ which Lyle adorned with typically sympathetic and transcendental fretwork.



Andy Lucas provided keys both nights, his 70’s electric piano carrying the music to the fringes of what some folk might call jazz. Think John Martyn. Think Astral Weeks-era Van Morrison. That’s how good the music of Blue Rose Code is.

“When I’m asked to describe my music,” says Ross at one point, “I usually say that people who don’t like folk music would call me folk, and people who do like folk wouldn’t.”

He’s hard to pigeonhole, especially when some of the songs from Friday’s set creep into Saturday’s, sounding completely different to the night before. Pedal steel maestro Iain Sloan filled the not insubstantial seat vacated by ‘Wild’ Lyle and where the previous night’s songs had been embellished with subtle guitar flourishes, the same songs; ‘Bluebell’, ‘Ebb & Flow’, ‘Edina’, were carried by the glorious swells from his pedal steel.


Both sets ended with ‘Grateful’, Ross’s humble and heartfelt anthem dedicated to the people who have allowed him to continue making a living as a live performer. 

And as a bonus, each night wound up with a perfectly-placed encore of John Martyn’s ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’, sending both audiences home on the highest of highs.


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