Released: August 5
Ricky Ross returns with a second album of short stories expertly condensed into three-minute songs.
Fresh off the road with Deacon Blue as the band pulled off a string of postponed tour dates interrupted by the pandemic, the singer-songwriter unveils his latest solo collection this month, put together over the past two years. between work on the band Love’s “City of” (2020) and “Riding on the Tide of Love” (2021).
The album serves as a follow-up and sequel to his 2016 solo release “Short Stories,” which featured new material alongside covers of hits and fan favorites from his four-decade career.
The project was recorded at the star’s home in Glasgow, Scotland, then completed with lavish strings and horns, alongside contributions from bandmates Deacon Blue, Lorraine McIntosh and Gregor Philp.
It’s true that Ricky’s solo albums have always been a bit more experimental than the band’s biggest hits, like Dignity, real kid gone and I’ll never fall in love again, and in this regard, ‘Short Stories Vol. 2’ does not disappoint.
Clocking over five minutes, main track Spanish shoes is a lively piano number that evokes the end of confinement and the small pleasures that come with the freedom we so often take for granted.
Elsewhere on the album, standout tracks include a stripped down version of Deacon Blue’s 1991 Top 30 hit, Your swinging arms (originally from the album ‘Fellow Hoodlums’); the reflective I was the Beatles; and the somewhat melancholic but uplifting new song, The foundations.
Although not as catchy as the band’s fans might expect, ‘Short Stories Vol. 2’ is an album to listen to with new ears, without preconceptions, and a collection that exists outside the Deacon Blue realms and firmly within Ricky’s solo landscape – after all, his work outside of the band is now almost as scope than that with the group.
Sticking to the narrative theme, the album was released a day after Ricky’s memoir “Walking Back Home”, in which he revisits his formative years in Dundee, his first forays into music and the start, an extraordinary success , spin-offs and re-emergence of Deacon Blue. The musician writes movingly about the people and places that matter most to him, as well as his relationship to faith, politics, and the ever-changing challenges of being a musician.
Together, the album and book are must-haves for fans who will no doubt be delighted with the fruits of Ricky’s recent productivity. So while his latest offering may not be the most commercial of his career, with decades of success under his belt, he has more than earned the right to steer his own ship and engage in projects that satisfy his creative instincts and satisfy him personally and artistically.
Short Stories Vol. 2′ is available now.