Review by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography
Wings of Salvation
Released – September 23rd
Blues-rock guitarist, singer- songwriter and dubbed Britain’s “King of Slide Guitar” Troy Redfern has followed up the excellent 2021 release The Fire Cosmic with a new record in The Wings of Salvation. This record was crowd-funded through a Kickstarter campaign, and I am happy to say I added my name to the supporting cast for this.
In the last nine months Troy has completed four full UK tours garnering an overwhelming response from music critics, reviewers, and fans alike. He has toured with Robert Jon & The Wreck, the Quireboys, The Sweet, and When Rivers Meet. In October 2022, he will embark on a 12-date UK tour supporting DARE, followed by a headline European tour in November 2022 including a concert in Transylvania.
Taking up the guitar as a teen, Troy quickly absorbed his musical inﬂuences of the early blues pioneers and the energy of the 70s and 80s rock icons. The turning point came when he discovered open tunings and slide guitar.
“I immediately felt like I’d come home the moment I put a bottleneck on my ﬁnger and started playing slide, it instantly felt completely natural to me. This style of playing helped me ﬁnd my true voice on the instrument.”
Recorded at Two Wolves and Dulcitone studios in complete takes, with no studio fixes, no drum editing or samples, with Paul Stewart (The Feeling) on Drums, and producer Dave Marks (Hans Zimmer) on Bass, Piano, Banjo and Percussion, and mastered by Sean Magee at Abbey Road, this record has a really solid foundation to support the “firebrand slide guitar” that is Redfern’s signature.
Ranging from the outright southern rock of the single Gasoline, through the bar-room boogie of Come On, to the stripped-back raw acoustic blues of Heart & Soul, this album is earthy, gritty and full of texture. Gasoline really sets out the stall for grungy, de-tuned resonator slide guitar, and Redfern’s gravelly vocals really tie-in with the scuzzy riff that drives the track along.
There is a real 70’s rock feel to Sweet Carolina, think T-Rex mixed with the Stones, with an upbeat tempo, and a ripper of a slide solo that brings both fire and melody to the track, and builds up into a crescendo of incendiary playing. Paul Stewart really has a blast behind the kit throughout this track, adding an extra dimension to the rhythm. A more straight-up blues-rock beat, but much the same sound permeates Come On, with a heavily-fuzzed slide riff, glam-rock overtones and a great big chorus. A deliberate stop takes us into the middle-eight with power-drums, sleazy guitars and a raw solo, before a workout through variations on the chorus through to the uproarious close.
The ragged and raucous vocals overlay the twang of the resonator guitars and the rolling beat of Navajo which could be the soundtrack of a spaghetti western chase scene, and there is such dexterity in the speed of the short solo, which needs a few listens to really appreciate.
“My 1935 Dobro resonator features heavily on the new album along with my Magnatone Twilighter amplifier,” reflects Redfern. “I found this to be a killer combination. It’s such a huge tone without the need for layers and layers of guitar tracks.”
Opening with a vintage vibe slide motif, Mercy bursts into a wall of uplifting guitars and Paul Stewart’s half time epic power groove. This is blues-rock at it’s absolute best, and the chorus is a belter. The second verse is all chunky bass and solid drums, and rasping vocals, before the guitars slide back in for the chorus. Troy flays the guitar over some subtle snare drum work before the tempo doubles up for the sizzling solo proper!
Can’t Let Go has a slightly mournful tone through the verse, in a tight, rock-solid tempo, but everything opens up in the chorus, with a casual freedom to the vocals and the power-chords beneath them. The solo is clean and piercing, and I love the additional layers of backing voices that create a unique tone through to the end of the track.
Dark Religion is the prequel to The Line and Ghosts from the prior record, and has something of a jaunty ¾ sea-shanty groove to it, albeit with the sense that a few rums may have been had by the singer! You could imagine Jack Sparrow sitting on the ruined prow of a ship singing this one! Troy shows off the incredible tone of the 1935 Dobro, without ever overdoing it with his playing.
My favourite track on the album is Profane, a helter-skelter high-octane psychobilly romp that never lets up, and the solo section is just brilliant. This mixes some classic British punk’n’blues rock like Dr Feelgood and Eddie & The Hot Rods with the swampy slide guitar sound, and comes up with a winner. In a similar vein, but with a tribal voodoo drum pattern, Down has a menacing sound to the verse before blitzing into the chorus. The extended section before the second verse is a masterpiece of sizzling slide guitar playing, with some ripping little breaks in the verse itself. The mid-section changes tone completely, with some rumbling drums, and ethereal harmonies before the solo of the record erupts, and Troy sounds like he is playing two or three guitars at once as the solo build to a monster high.
The album closes with a real old-school slide guitar, bluesy roots number in Heart & Soul – just guitar, voice and kick-drum. There is an intensity to the extended solo, with Troy wringing the neck of his instrument to deliver something truly special. There is something quite special and unique about what Troy Redfern is doing – a far cry from the polished blues of Joe Bonamassa, or the hard-rock blues of Kris Barras et al, with a real focus on the particular sound of the traditional slide guitar, and it is just brilliant.
The album is available to pre-order from www.troyredfern.com/shop
Stream the Single: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/troyredfern/gasoline-radio-edit
Photo – Adam Kennedy
Photo – Adam Kennedy
Troy heads out on tour as support for DARE around the UK through October.