Legendary Deacon Blue frontman Ricky Ross insists he has no problem balancing a solo career with fronting one of Scotland’s top bands.
This week Ricky will release not just a solo album but also a hotly-anticipated memoir.
Autobiography Walking Back Home, which focuses on his early life in Dundee and the rise of Deacon Blue, is out on Thursday August 4.
Just 24 hours later Ricky’s new album Short Stories Volume 2, his eighth, is released on Cooking Vinyl Records.
Ricky is set to promote both the book and album with an intimate solo show at the Tivoli Theatre in Aberdeen on Tuesday, September 20.
It is a quick-fire return to the Granite City for one of Scotland’s finest singer-songwriters.
Less than three months ago Ricky headlined P&J Live with chart-toppers Deacon Blue in a show rescheduled from December.
It is a frantic schedule that would leave many artists burnt out.
The 64-year-old said: “It’s not really difficult balancing the different things.
“Deacon Blue had to come back to do dates because we didn’t finish the tour last year due to Covid implications.
“One of those dates was in Aberdeen. Now I will be back in the city later this year.
“Deacon Blue is such a big operation and machine. My thing is like a tiny cottage industry compared to it.
“It is just wee. A book and a record and easy enough to separate them in my head.”
‘Step outside the limits of the song’
In his memoir, Walking Back Home, Ricky revisits his formative years growing up in Dundee.
Ricky also delves into the rise of Deacon Blue from early roots to multi-million-selling chart-topping stars.
Deacon Blue formed in 1985 and enjoyed almost a decade of sustained chart success before a temporary split in 1994.
With refreshing honesty, he also explores the fall-out and eventual re-emergence of Deacon Blue.
Album City of Love, released in 2020, was Deacon Blue’s most successful release in almost 25 years.
Following Deacon Blue’s split Ricky embarked on a successful solo career with albums What You Are (1996) and New Recording (1997).
He also wrote for or with artists including Jamie Cullum, James Blunt, Nanci Griffith and Ronan Keating.
He said: “On the last Deacon Blue album City of Love there is a song called On Love which becomes a spoken word piece.
“It touches on growing up with my grandparents, growing up in Dundee. All those things.
“There was something about it that made me want to step outside the limits of the song.
“Around about then, maybe 2019, I started to want to write a bit more.
“We were having breakfast one morning in New Zealand towards the end of a tour.
“I distinctly remember putting something on my phone that I must write about all these ideas.
“By then the idea had really cottoned on with me to write more about these stories.
“Over 2020 and ’21 I got down to more solid writing.”
Reliving warm childhood memories
Fragmented memories are explored by Ricky within On Love including a railway journey with his grandfather and the pain of lost love.
Those faded memories are given further colour on Walking Back Home which will be released in hardback, audio and ebook on Thursday, August 4.
Just 24 hours later Short Stories Volume 2 will be released, an album recorded at home alongside contributions from Deacon Blue band-mates Lorraine McIntosh and Gregor Philp.
In the solo show at The Tivoli in September Ricky will play songs on a piano from across his entire career and also share stories from his autobiography.
On Walking Back Home, Ricky said: “There were a lot of memories that were half thought but not fully realized.
“They were such warm memories as well. My grandparents, especially on my mother’s side were really important.
“They did a lot of looking after me as my mum went back to work as a teacher. I spent days before nursery school with my grandparents.
“They were strong characters in my life and I felt I spent a lot of time with them. A really enjoyable time.
RRHQ – Short Stories Vol.2 – A Track By Track // Track 6: The Foundations
— Ricky Ross (@rickyaross) August 2, 2022
“They were really big characters and my grandfather was like my best friend.
“It was very enjoyable to go back to that, but very emotional.”
Throughout his career, both with Deacon Blue and solo, Ricky’s lyrics have been enlightened by a sense of optimism.
That through the toughest times, in the darkest places hope can prevail.
It shines brightly throughout his autobiography and album as Ricky writes movingly about the people and places that have meant the most to him.
Five days of isolation in a Fife cottage
From March 2020 the coronavirus pandemic effectively shut down live venues for a year.
With the future so uncertain Ricky used the time to look back to his past.
He spent five days in splendid isolation with his dog in a cottage in Perthshire fully focused on writing.
He said: “There was a lot more time as tours were cancelled. I could sit down and enjoy writing.
“I never felt like there was a deadline. It was just one of these things that evolves.
“I got away for a few days in Perthshire as a friend has a cottage there.
“I had five days and took the dog up on my own during the lovely summer in June last year.
“During that time I did a lot of writing. For the album as well, I couldn’t go anywhere.
“I worked quite late when it was really quiet and then would check it out in the morning.
“The good thing is if you are working at home I can fix it straight away.”
For information and tickets for Rick Ross’s solo show at the Tivoli on September 20 visit aberdeenperformingarts.com