Since 2015, Troy Redfern’s prolific output has seen him continuously venture out of his comfort zone. Having started out as a one-man-band, the producer, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist continues to reinvent himself, with his courageous and passionate traits prompting him to repeatedly roll the dice. Now recording alongside the support of Dave Marks (producer/multi-instrumentalist) and Paul Stewart (drums), the Herefordshire slide-guitarist pulls Rock ‘n’ Roll back to its core, with his latest album The Wings of Salvation capturing the genre’s retro, old-school qualities which inspired Redfern’s musical expedition in the first place.
A staple throughout his career to date, Redfern’s slide guitar work has repeatedly received widespread acclaim, with his intricate and fiery approach consistently at the heart of his expressive playing style. “Gasoline” opens his latest album in a similar vein, wasting no time in introducing the rumbustious guitar work and scintillating drumming, which both remain commanding features throughout the album’s duration. Adopting a unique 7/8 time signature, “Gasoline” immediately employs a distinct, spirited groove, which paired with the uplifting lyric; “the good times are here to stay”, ignites an unusually optimistic atmosphere. Redfern’s rustic approach continues into the prideful “Sweet Carolina”, a retro sounding Blues-Rock anthem commemorating the strength and independence of a woman who made the dignified transition from “a small town girl” into a “shining superstar”.
The Wings of Salvation owes great credit to the lethal combination of the 1935 Dobro resonator and the Magnatone Twilighter amplifier. This exact resonator steals the show on “Sweet Carolina”, amplifying the vibrations in a manner which induces an unforgettable solo towards the back end of the track. Far from being the only solo which ignites the tracklist, Redfern repeatedly reminds us of classic Blues Rock and how captivating and transcending these improvised solos can sound. “Come On”, “Can’t Let Go” and “Navajo” are just a handful of examples where Redfern’s solos evoke feelings of passion and reminiscence, the latter being a defiant, up-tempo country track, whose lyrics, “ain’t taking my freedom away – until my dying day” complement its vibrant atmosphere with a profound sense of defiance.
As the record progresses, Redfern’s confidence translates over into some of the album’s more experimental tracks. “Dark Religion” sees him briefly exchange the vibrant, rhythmic Indie-Blues for a slow-burning, sinister track. With his ominous vocals capturing the “hell and damnation” which infest the track, the off-beat clapping and chilling guitar work combine to produce what is easily the album’s darkest song, without having to rely on a garish, abrasive sound. However, transitioning from this mystical atmosphere into the album’s most eccentric song in “Profane”, its frenetic drumming, relentless guitarwork, and punchy bass rhythm instigate a state of sheer mayhem.
The Wings of Salvation concludes in fine fashion, with Redfern presenting a stylistic change with the sassy refrain of “down, down, down” on the penultimate track. “Heart & Soul” draws the experience to a close on a reflective note, where the spacious, marching arrangement evokes a cinematic atmosphere, through which the suspense is greeted with the realisation that he’s “got to let go”. A consistent listen across its duration, Redfern’s deadly slide guitar, evocative vocals, and no-nonsense attitude emphatically captures the authentic sound of old-school Rock ‘n’ Roll.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Dark Religion
The Big Hit