The Gig Cartel - Artist profiles: Ricky Ross

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Ricky Ross

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RICKY ROSS Ricky Ross formed Deacon Blue over 30 years ago. 2017 see the 30 th anniversary of the release of their debut album, Raintown. A string of best-sellers followed it: When the World Knows Your Name [1989], Fellow Hoodlums [1991], Whatever You Say, Say Nothing [1993] and a double-platinum compilation Our Town – The Greatest Hits [1994] which included “Real Gone Kid”, “Fergus Sings the Blues”, “Dignity”, “Wages Day”, “Twist and Shout” and many others. Then, with 12 UK Top 40 singles and two No.1 albums to their credit, the group split up for five years. Ricky Ross built up his career as a songwriter and solo act releasing two solo albums What You Are [1996] and New Recording [1997] as well as writing for or with artists including James Blunt, Ronan Keating, Jamie Cullum and Nanci Griffith among many others. A Deacon Blue reunion show prompted a new album Walking Back Home [1999] and a follow-up Homesick [2001] after which the band continued to play live but did not return to the studio together for 11 years.

Ross continued writing though and recorded and toured his fourth solo album Pale Rider [2005] (his first So Long Ago [1984] was released prior to Ross forming Deacon Blue). With his band on hold again he formed a duo with his Deacon Blue cohort Lorraine McIntosh. As McIntosh Ross they toured and released their much acclaimed album The Great Lakes [2009]. It wasn’t until 2012 that Deacon Blue decided to return to the studio and with the release of The Hipsters [2012] they had little idea of the impact which that album would have. The group’s dedicated fans were, naturally, quick to embrace it and the album sailed into the Top 20 on its week of release. But then the media tastemakers got on board, in particular Radio 2, which A-listed 4 singles form the record. Ricky then managed to find time to head into the studio and record his starkest and most urgent work Trouble Came Looking [2013], performing the album in the places he couldn’t get to with Deacon Blue, travelling the length and breadth of the country. Touring with Deacon Blue soon continued and as the word spread, a new generation discovered their music. When the group played T in the Park in the summer of 2013, they were the talk of the festival.

The buzz continued to build in September of that year when they played a triumphant show at the Royal Albert Hall in London, and that turned into a roar of acclaim as they ended their second tour of the year with a homecoming Christmas gig at the brand-new, 13,000-capacity SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow. By the spring of 2014 Ross, with the help of guitarist Gregor Philp, had finished writing and demoing a new batch of songs. The band went back in to Paul Savage’s Chem19 Studio in Blantyre on the outskirts of Glasgow, where they set up and played together live, as they had done for The Hipsters. The result was A New House [2014], an album full of confidence, courage and rekindled passion for the second life which Deacon Blue has now embarked upon.

Filled with a sense of joy and forward-looking energy, it is an album which sounds distinctly at odds with the group’s veteran status. On a roll now, the band returned to the studio to record their third album in quick succession. Believers [2016] went on to become their most successful album in 23 years with a sell-out tour of the UK and Ireland to support it. This year Ricky will release his seventh solo album, Short Stories Vol. 1 [2017], an album that draws from his solo shows, recorded in Hamburg and Glasgow featuring Ricky at his piano supported by sumptuous strings and a choir. A tour taking in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Holland begins in November.

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