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Randolph’s Leap

Voyage to the Isle of Love (with Adam Ross)

By • Jul 7th, 2018 • Category: features

Much-travelled of late, Adam Ross is closer to home territory. Elgin, to be precise, close(ish) to where he grew up, in Nairn.

But this is no regular visit home – in fact, he now lives in Laurencekirk. No, this is just another stop on a month-long tour. Tonight, it’s a sold-out show in Rafford. “We’re expecting 90 people in a tiny village hall in the middle of nowhere,” he laughs.

However, this is it no regular tour either. “This is a show that’s been written around my songs,” says Ross, proudly, As the main songwriter in what can expand to a full-on eight-piece band, Randolph’s Leap are very much in stripped-down mode.

The people behind the theatre side – Ross takes care of the music – are Euan Martin and Dave Smith, of Highland based theatre Right Lines.

“Euan was in his car and heard me on Radio Scotland with Tom Morton, and took a shine to the songwriting,” the singer explains. “He went home, downloaded a couple of albums, they inspired something in him. We were in touch for a year or so, throwing ideas back and forward, and they created this.”

“This” is The Isle of Love, inspired by a song from the Randolph’s Leap album ‘Clumsy Knot’. “We’ve woven in another 20 songs from our back catalogue into the show, with a cast of five actors plus myself.”

But despite this move into the theatre he’s not quite pitching for an Oscar yet. “I’m not doing much of the emotional legwork,” he admits, “just a few lines to keep the narrative going.

“I thought they’d put me the corner with my guitar, but I’m getting more comfortable – though it’s totally new for me.“

The play is set on a fictional island, whose inhabitants have “arrived there for something, hoping the island is going to provide the answers they’re looking for – no spoilers, but it doesn’t quite turn out that way!”

The theatre tour has, as it happens, served another purpose.

“It’s provided me the chance to take my album around the country I’d not have otherwise”.

Ah yes, the small matter of the new Randolph’s Leap long-player.

‘Worryingly Okay’ is, however, like Adam’s solo sets, back to basics.

“The last album was much more of a full band album, this one’s more stripped back and lo-fi,” Ross says.

Apart from a spell in Glasgow, home for Ross has always been a rural setting, which inspires his work.

“I get a lot of songwriting done when I’m hillwalking, partly cause it inspires me, and it’s a break from everything else – up a hill with no phone signal is really valuable thinking time.

And halfway into the tour, it seems that getting back to nature is agreeing with him.
“I’ll definitely do it again,” he laughs. “I could even bring the band next time!”

‘Worryingly Okay’ is out now. More at randolphsleap.co.uk

This article originally appeared in the Galloway Gazette

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