Out of the blue
Birmingham Evening Mail April 2002

Ricky Ross sheds his Deacon Blue skin once again as he sets off on his third solo tour, coinciding with the release of his new album This Is The Life.

But Deacon Blue fans are being assured that some of the band's material will still be showcased alongside the solo stuff.

"Of course it will," promises Ricky. "I realise that the vast majority of the people coming to the shows will be Deacon Blue fans. The idea of going out with the band before Christmas was to give everyone their fix of the big songs. We still love playing all that stuff, and there will be a certain amount included.

"But the idea is to play everything, revisiting some of the less obvious older numbers too, drawn from all the Deacon Blue and solo album back catalogue. Old songs, new versions."

So will the band featured on the album be on the road with Ricky?

"Yes and no," the singer reveals. "Davie Scott and Mick Slaven are going out with me, but we're not taking bass and drums, which means we can reproduce a real flavour of the album, but also have the chance to be intimate, experiment with new arrangements of the songs and still do them justice. It's a question of balance."

Ricky admits that he really enjoys doing solo shows, although he finds it scarier than performing with a band.

"I have to give more of myself, you create your own stark intimacy with the crowd when you're in smaller venues. And the acoustic format immediately brings you so much closer to people.

"On the other hand that makes it more special, it's more about personality and it's more about the songs."

The solo shows also offer the chance to vary the format from the Deacon Blue gigs.

"I talk a lot more when I perform solo," Ricky says. "There's more dialogue between the songs, it's closer to traditional storytelling because it gives me so much more of an opportunity to express myself.

"There are no big lights and loud amps to hide behind but that's great. It's a challenge to bring the songs to life and it's fun because we all swap instruments around.

"I play piano and a bit of guitar, Dave and Mick do the same, so there's still a lot variety in there."
Andrew Coleman