by Craig Howieson
Intimacy and beauty: the man behind NYC’s Wild Pink on the cinematic soundtrack to his innermost thoughts
A huge blizzard has just blown through upstate New York as I connect with Wild Pink’s John Ross. Despite its seasonal unpredictability, it proves to be an inspiring place to live. ‘There’s a lot of natural beauty up here. I really draw from that.’ The majestic landscapes surrounding him douse Wild Pink’s music in a jaded Americana, as Ross paints dense soundscapes with broad, universal strokes.
The grandeur of his music matches the bold ambition with which he embarks on each new release, with third record being no different. ‘I just wanted A Billion Little Lights to be even bigger than Yolk in the Fur.’
The lush pastures he composes are a counterpoint to his lyrics, which he intones with a comforting closeness. ’I write about a lot of intimate moments, but I think it could be relatable to anyone,’ says Ross. More than that, he interrogates the nuanced intricacies of the relationships that shape all of our lives. ‘I’m very drawn to the platonic side of it. I think that’s more interesting’ he reveals. This is evident on The Wind Was Like A Train with its inescapable refrain of ‘I got your back’ – a reassurance from Ross for those in his life who need to hear it.
Describing his writing process as ‘making a little world out of each song,’ the escapism it provides is as much for himself as the listener; a way of contending with an insecurity that he is ‘always wrestling with,’ which is something that can be buried in the enveloping confidence of his music. ‘When Yolk in the Fur came out, there was something written about the music sounding like I am feeling more comfortable in my own skin, and I don’t know why that came across; I wouldn’t say that’s totally accurate.’
And yet there is a contented optimism to be gleaned from A Billion Little Lights that perhaps lies in its creation. ‘I knew what I wanted, and the ability to make it sound the way that I want, and do a lot of it from home is very empowering.’
Even if he doesn’t have it all figured out yet, on A Billion Little Lights, Ross again provides a cloudburst of rescuing rain for scorched souls. A place of comfort and reassurance where it always feels like someone has your back.
A Billion Little Lights is out on 19th February on Royal Mountain Records.
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