Sanctuary is Ross Ainslie’s third solo album in which he continues his quest to rationalize the direction his life has taken from the time he chose music over sport to removing alcohol from his life.
Music is his sanctuary, the place in which he is safe; ruler of a familiar territory that wraps its warm arms around him. Aptly named therefore, this album harkens back to a time when records were created to be considered from start to finish, leading the listener where the muse dallies, each track blending in to the next.
From the haunting opening of Inner Sanctuary to the honesty of the closing Escaping Gravity we accompany Ross on a deeply personal trip through the years of his still young life. It’s a brave thing to do. Not many would choose to be so open to expose vulnerability yet this is what Ross is all about.
There are memories and stories from touring and performing but also we glimpse scenes of darkness, loneliness of touring and the expectation placed on performers’ adoring fans.
Ross is a fine piper, one of the best and whilst Sanctuary is dominated by his prowess with whistles and cittern, there is a triumphant return home to the pipes that started his career firstly in Ironman and then Let The Wild One’s Roam. This is a quite wonderful album supported by a host of well known names, each contributing to an inspired work which demands to be listened to again and again.
One could view his albums as a trilogy, Wide Open, Remembering and now Sanctuary, each building upon the next. If this body of work is anything to go by then I for one can’t wait for the next instalment.