AS SEEN AT HRH BLUES
The Troy Redfern Band
There’s something about the Welsh marches. As guitarist Troy Redfern tells it, he grew up in the shadow of Hergest Ridge, made famous by Mike Oldfield. The Welsh borders; roughly that area between Hay on Way, Brecon and Hereford: It might not quite evoke the arresting geography and climate of say Louisiana, but there’s something about the freedom of a landscape that refuses an official definition of the extent of its domain.
It all fits perfectly into Troy Redfern’s world. He is a passionate, intense, free spirited indie blues artist whose ferocious slide guitar style twists and turns timeless themes and ideas to his own ends.
The protean slide guitarist leads his power trio with style, gusto and virtuoso playing that fuses spontaneity with real craft. Redfern combines the rawness of Hound Dog Taylor, the freeform approach of Sonny Sharrock, the firebrand playing of Johnny Winter and the technique of Dave Hole with the ghost of Elmore James. Troy: “I’ve got a wide range of influences from Zappa and Mike Keneally to Sean Costello, but it all originally came from a friend of mine Nigel Peters who lent me a Son House collection. That led me to discover Hound Dog Taylor, Mississippi Fred McDowell, the rough attack and hard edge approach of Bukka White’s resonator, and Mississippi Hill Country Blues, with people like RL Burnside and Junior Kimbrough etc.”
Troy is a guitarist for whom tone, feel and grooves are his working tools, while his songs range from a whisper to a scream, including those outlandish moments when his vocals go to the edge of the world and he momentarily transforms himself into Screaming Jay Hawkins meets captain Beefheart. Troy: “I write a riff first, then improvise the lyrics and then I pick some phrases etc and turn them into the song. I usually leave a section for the solo which is usually a one take deal. I love the ad-hoc energy that comes from somewhere else.”
Stjohn Milinczuk came to the band via a chance meeting at Hereford Blues Club. Stjohn had been the bassist in the intriguingly named Herefordshire indie band the Dandelion Killers, but was now providing bass for highly acclaimed Irish slide guitarist Will Killeen. Stjohn slotted in to the Troy Redfern Band perfectly, bringing a combination of solid bedrock and killer bass runs to both lock in with Alex’s drumming and compliment Troy’s soaring guitar. Troy: “I live for those special times when your slide takes you to another place that you couldn’t think of except in that moment. Then the band kicks in behind you to improvise on the solo and you think wow!”
Having been invited to play the prestigious Telegraph Hay Festival and winning over a large and critical audience, the band set out touring the UK and headed out to Europe, landing some fantastic shows supporting The Nimmo Brothers, Skinny Molly, Dr. Feelgood, Bad Company’s Mick Ralphs, Thin Lizzy’s Eric Belle, Cyril Neville’s Royal Southern Brotherhood and many more. The band’s sound and dynamic coalesced and tightened fast and the accolades started coming in from the likes of world class producers Jim Eliot (Ellie Goulding, Paul Oakenfold) and Charlie Francis (REM, Gravel Tones) as well as the UK blues press.
In 2015 Troy signed with the award winning Blues Boulevard label and cut his high octane debut album ‘Backdoor Hoodoo’, which brought him to the greater attention of Euro blues fans. Recording is currently under way for a 2016 follow up with new material receiving a great response live so far! Keep an eye out for further updates at www.troyredfern.com.
Cover image by Simon Dunkerley