Music review: Ricky Ross, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

WITH his music also finding a home at the other end of the M8 in Paul Higgins’ homespun musical The Choir at the Citizens’ Theatre, this Edinburgh leg of Ricky Ross’s Lyric Book Live tour was an opportunity to hear the sometime Deacon Blue singer’s music in an environment less boisterous than the air-punching, rabble-rousing shows her usually serves up with his regular band.

Queens Hall, Edinburgh. Picture: Neil Hanna

Ricky Ross

Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Star rating: ****

Ross sat at the Queen’s Hall’s grand piano, which he seemed particularly taken with, or on a chair with one of a couple of his own guitars, and played alone. Mostly, the songs were his own, whether originally recorded with Deacon Blue or for his solo albums, although there were a couple of covers, including the Beatles’ I’ll Get You. Throughout, the properties of his voice were more clearly on display than a fully electric gig would allow. The soul influences are clear, but his vocal is more attuned to a rugged crooner’s style or a soft kind of balladeering.

In one of Ross’ friendly between-song chats, before The Germans Are Out Today, he remembered his father, an RAF man stationed across the Tay from his native Dundee at Leuchars. He also spoke of his daughter leaving home recently (“where are all the phone chargers?”) by way of introduction to the emotional That’s What We Can Do. This sense of natural storytelling also wound its way through familiar hits including Your Swaying Arms, Wages Day and Dignity.