Music Moment: McIntosh Ross

I was browsing recently dropped records and singles yesterday when thanks to a really cool well-timed tip from a groovy reader across the Atlantic (thanks o, henri!) I stumbled via over the debut album of McIntosh Ross, The Great Lakes, and my breath was totally taken away. Holy cats, you guys! So amazing!

The Scottish husband-wife-duo of Ricky Ross and Lorraine McIntosh have recorded together before, being longtime bandmates of the recently reunited Glasgow group Deacon Blue (Raintown, “Dignity,” “Wages Day”). As if they did not already have their hands full making landmark alternative music with that outfit, the pair also just released their first solo album September 28 (two days ago) and it is unbelievably beautiful. The music they wrote and recorded with Deacon Blue was mainly working class, alternative anthems about life in Glasgow and the like. The songs on this record, The Great Lakes, are just soaring and ethereal and purely, it seems, love songs to one another.

McIntosh Ross – All My Trust I Place In You

One day we’ll know
One day we’ll see
‘Til then we’ll walk
And believe

This video for me shows exactly why The Great Lakes is such a modest and beautiful record. What is most right and touching about the compositions on this LP is that these are not your we’re-young-and-hot, I-want-to-jump-you, Beyonce and Jay-Z smash hit sexytimes songs, either (no disrespect to hip-hop’s royal couple intended, I’m just saying they are new to the lovesong duet game, comparatively). This whole album is about enduring, longstanding love. Like this track, “Bluebell Wood,” and its repeated line, “Today’s the day we got married in June.” The haunting refrain sounds like an old folk song, and the way McIntosh glides her voice around it, it feels like you are hearing her call you across the moors, yet there is no mourning. It’s just … perfect.

McIntosh Ross – Bluebell Wood

Today’s the day we got married in June
All of the bluebells were out in the wood
We danced to our song
And stepped in the car
Drove under a blanket of stars
Today’s the day we got married in June

Simple words, a simple memory she is describing, yet it is somehow, in their hands, achingly poignant. Because it is …

I realized these Music Moment posts tend to run really long because I like music way too much, and can’t bear to only give you half the story on someone I think is really special, so click here to keep reading about wonderful McIntosh Ross and see more pictures, hear more music, and suchlike, because they are mind-blowing in their awesomeness…

real, actual love about which she is singing, the kind where you hold hands on your way from the grocery to the car, and you walk through a field together picking pumpkins for Halloween and letting the kids run ahead of you; doing the morning crossword on the front porch with your husband’s jacket draped across your shoulders; going for a drive in the country and smiling when you pass a certain spot because you remember pulling over to neck twenty years ago.

This track for me evokes the romantic adage that some people are like coming home.

McIntosh Ross – This World Is Not My Home

This world is not my home
I was made for so much more
And everything can fall away
Cause I’m yours

To me this song is saying this world is not my home because you are my world and you are my home. I find that so beautiful and genuine.

The songs on The Great Lakes are filled with wilderness and nature, with awe and thanks for god, all the best intentions and sweetest things in humanity with which true love I think is supposed to fill your heart. The love in these songs is the real deal: permanent, absolute, and as much a part of one another’s lives as their spines and their favorite socks, but still deep and wild as it was in the beginning. Comfortable and beautiful, warming and perfect no matter how threadbare it might grow, all that love ought and is necessary to be, and some people are lucky enough to find and keep.

Geez, I think I’m going to cry. I need to scrounge up some wool socks and someone to cuddle and eat roast red pepper soup with. I say again: Viggo Mortensen, call a bitch. Really, I might cry. Okay. One more. Then I’m done:

McIntosh Ross – Summer

Enjoy! This album is perfect Autumn listening for you and your sweetheart from way back. Speaking of way back…

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