Blue Rose Code – The Water of Leith

The Water of Leith is an ode to forgiveness, to letting go of the past and holding on to hope – it's an astonishingly accomplished, pure and sincere record

Album Review by Susan Le May | 19 Oct 2017
  • Blue Rose Code – The Water of Leith
Album title: The Water of Leith
Artist: Blue Rose Code
Label: Navigator Records
Release date: 27 Oct

From tumultuous beginnings through loss, upheaval, addiction and recovery, Ross Wilson's constant has been music. Whilst life could be punctuated by struggle, his output as Blue Rose Code has been prolific, with heartfelt narratives flowing effortlessly from his Caledonian soul with an unmatched honesty and a raw, majestic beauty.

The Water of Leith, Blue Rose Code's fourth studio album since 2013, feels like a turning point, both personally and professionally. Wilson is shedding the past, embracing self-forgiveness and looking ahead to the future – the prodigal son of Edina has returned with his demons at bay, hope in his heart and an amazing album in tow.

Wilson's story reads like that of many of the great classic songwriters. Escaping his home city some years ago, his talent's well-deserved recognition has grown organically; he plugged away playing small shows in the likes of his adopted city of London, working to scrape together a living whilst facing personal struggles. Steadily he's gained support from a long list of names in the music and arts worlds, gathering countless accolades and praise for his work, with an ever-growing, intensely devoted fanbase providing fuel for his creative fire.

This record feels like the laying to rest of his troubles, with hope and faith in the future illuminating his ever more intricate and incredible songwriting. Whilst his life has travelled rough roads, leading him through different cities and hard times, it's stability, sobriety and optimism that has led Blue Rose Code home.

From the unabashed pop positivity of Ebb & Flow and Love Is...., piano-driven politics of the brilliant Sandaig, through the rich sax of Bluebell and jazz-cool gorgeousness of Nashville Blue, each song fuses a multitude of elements to produce breathtaking beauty. The percussion-led darkness, soaring strings and trad-folk of On the Hill Remains a Heart is as at home as the perfect pop swagger of Polaris and the grandiose, rolling crescendos of To the Shore. Wilson's remarkable vocal is the project's heart, but the impressive array of musicians and contributors he has assembled provides the album's oxygen.

The Water of Leith is an ode to forgiveness, to letting go of the past and holding on to hope. It's the culmination of Wilson's life so far – an astonishingly accomplished, pure and sincere record celebrating the next chapter, and the happiness and success that this ever-improving, undeniable talent rightfully deserves.

Listen to: Bluebell, Sandaig, Polaris