RICKY ROSS - Short Stories Vol. 1

RICKY ROSS Short Stories Vol. 1 earMUSIC [Release date 15.09.17]

While there’s no argument Ricky Ross can pen a decent tune, and has a signature vocal timbre, he’s perhaps not the most technically gifted of singers, which in no small part explains why Lorraine McIntosh’s vocal harmony parts were so critical to the success of Deacon Blue.

Being promoted by a European tour, Short Stories – a collection of new songs, well-known Deacon Blue tracks Raintown and Wages Day, and other less familiar songs from throughout his career – finds Ross giving a pared back, intimate piano delivery, with colour added only by strings and choir.

The result is an album not intended for the charts (if indeed, they any longer exist) but as a souvenir for the post gig merch stalls where livings are now to be made, or pensions supplemented.

While he may now be a long way behind the curve of the current, rather over populated, singer songwriter generation, this cultured collection – while somewhat time locked – will undoubtedly find favour with Ricky’s aging audience.

The stripped back Raintown works particularly well, as does an excellent cover of Gerry Goffin / Carole King’s Goin’ Back (originally a hit for Dusty Springfield, but covered by many, including Deacon Blue).  But for my taste the set is somewhat overly melancholy, and while it should sell well at gigs, I suspect it’s unlikely to entice many new recruits to Ross’s fan base.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

MATT PATERSHUK  Same As I Ever Have Been
Black Hen Music [Release date 27.10.17]

The third album from Canadian country / blues player Matt Patershuk is probably a record way too rootsy for the GRTR! readership, as he walks confidently in the footsteps of some of the greats of the genre, delivering with verve, humour, and a wonderful heartfelt drawl.

If you’re looking for crossover material, make sure you listen to the set opener – Sometimes You’ve Got To Do Bad Things To Do Good, a ‘must hear’ number worthy of a TV placement played with a wonderfully dirty riff, and equally voracious sax accompaniment.

But that number aside, while the playing, and recording – captured live in the studio – is par excellence (including some great fiddle work from Josh Zubot, and sensitive vocal accompaniment from Ana Egge) – the set has both feet planted firmly on the country side of the line.

But if country roots are your bag, Matt Patershuk is definitely a name to watch out for.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley

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