Taking their name from a Steely Dan song, Deacon Blue were one of the best unknown bands in Scotland. Formed in 1985, the group performed its first concert as the opening act for the Waterboys' premier show in England. With the vocals of singer/songwriter Ricky Ross backed by jazz and soul-inspired melodies, Deacon Blue recorded several British hits in the late '80s. Their success, however, failed to carry over to American audiences. Frustrated by the inability to secure international popularity, the group disbanded in the summer of 1994.
Although he launched a solo career, Ross had no greater success than he had as frontman for Deacon Blue. In May 1999, the group re-formed for a series of concerts in Great Britain and Europe. As of November 1999, the group featured Ross and other original bandmembers bassist Ewen Vernal, guitarist Graeme Kelling, keyboardist James Prime, and drummer Dougie Vipond, along with second vocalist Lorraine McIntosh (who had become Ross' wife after joining the band). Their first new album in five years, the ballads collection Walking Back Home, was released that year, and the full-length studio album Homesick followed in spring 2001.
Guitarist Kelling died of pancreatic cancer in June 2004; Deacon Blue nevertheless vowed to carry on and continued to make intermittent festival appearances through the end of the decade. In 2012, Deacon Blue scheduled a nationwide tour in celebration of their 25th anniversary, and later that year they released their sixth album, The Hipsters, which was produced by Paul Savage (King Creosote, Malcom Middleton, Mogwai). Their seventh studio album, A New House, arrived in 2014. Produced once again by Savage, the album reached the U.K. Top 20 upon its release. The more politically charged Believers appeared in September of 2016, and received positive reviews. The following year Deacon Blue put out Live at the Glasgow Barrowlands, a live set recorded at their hometown's prestigious venue during the 2016 Believers tour. The performance was significant to the band and its fans, since Deacon Blue played their farewell show at the Barrowlands 22 years previously, prior to their re-formation five years later in 1999. ~ Craig Harris