Glasgow Cathedral 29th January 2005
The Daily Record 4th February 2005

WITH his fourth studio album due out in May, Ricky Ross gave it a baptism of fire in the imposing surroundings of Glasgow Cathedral.

A month after his band's frenzied appearance at the city's Carling Academy, Ross confessed to solo-artist nerves, telling the crowd: 'I'm not sure if I enjoy this kind of thing.'

Indeed, with none of the bombast of Deacon Blue hits to hide behind, the songwriter was far more exposed and hesitant than his alter-ego.

Still, the set was peppered with several Deacon Blue numbers, albeit stripped of their anthemic qualities and elegantly rearranged around piano, acoustic guitar and layered harmonies.

Input from Pearlfisher Davie Scott, guest vocalists Trisha McTeague and Jim Gash and virtuoso guitarist Mick Slaven added to the acoustic treatment.

At times, the 47-year-old's vocals boomed far beyond the abilities of the ancient building's acoustics.

But his Neil Young-style falsetto on When Sinners Fall from his 1996 album, What You Are, was carried well.

Of the new material, the album's title track, Pale Rider, has a simple, haunting melody, and In The End, a touching tribute to his late Deacon Blue colleague Graeme Kelling, which moved the singer to tears, was well suited to the surroundings. Paul English