Rickys Gift Of Songs
Edinburgh Evening Times 12th April 2002

FOR most of us, getting musical with our mobiles means downloading some novelty ringtone. For Ricky Ross, his Motorola is as important as a four track.

"I go out for a walk, come up with something and phone it back to myself" says the former Deacon Blue frontman. "The other day I came back and had the verse, the melody and a good idea for the title and lyrics, all on the phone. "So I just pick up the guitar and to try to get it to work, put it into different tunings."

It's somewhat eccentric, but Ross has always flown in the face of convention. While the rest of the British music scene toyed with New Romanticism, Ross was busy jotting down the ingredients that would become the classic Dignity.

It marked the Glaswegian band out as something different, and tapped into the collective depression that seemed to hang over the end of the 80s. Here was a band and a man who didn't write about girls on film. Instead they wrote about the man on the street and the decline of industry in your community.

It was poignant stuff and the lyrics seemed to touch a nerve. Surprisingly, Ross is deprecatory about his ability to compose, but believes his technical weaknesses have become strengths.

"My sheer inability is a great thing for writing because it makes me stick to the plot" he says. I'm very bad at chords. I don't know what to call the damn things then I forget what the tuning was. So I've recently been trying to write without any instrument."

The result has been his new solo album, This Is The Life, a collection of confessional songs.

"I wanted the album to be an honest reflection of where I am in my life, without being sentimental. "I wrote a song about my dad but not until after he had died. "I liked the idea of having each song as a sort of gift to different friends, but it didn't really work out like that."

His show at the Cottier Theatre on April 15 will be a gift to his fans though. For those lucky enough to get a ticket for the gig that is. The Cottier isn't the biggest venue on the planet. "It will be fun playing a smaller venue," says the 44-year-old, "and the shows will be different too!" It looks like he's still unconventional after all these years. Jonathon Rennie