It seems hard to believe that purveyor of savage, slide-slaughtering music Troy Redfern has, like the rest of us, been locked down. He’s put the time to good use though, using some of that valuable, introspective insight to create his very own Island. Over three weeks Troy has juggled all instruments needed for its formation, including his ’29 National Triolian and ’36 May Bell Parlour Guitar, alongside a whole catalogue of different rhythm, wind and vocal embellishments.
“Doing Time” tears a hole in the solitude, in true Troy style; abrasive vocals, violent rhythms, searing slide and cutting lyrics. Next up is an arguably gentler, acoustic approach to “Falling Down”, putting that old resonator to good use. Troy’s “falling down on his knees”, as the foot-stomping rhythm pummels forward under the distinctive Triolian lead.
Troy’s instrumental “Call To Prayer” conjures an ethereal and exotic landscape of intriguing imagery; a minaret floats on the horizon of a ranging desert, and aromatic spices fill the air. With plenty of atmospheric cymbals, finger picking and fleeting notes of a sax, this is a sound you’ll be happy to lose yourself in. Staying firmly in this surreal world, instrumental title track “Island” paints an image of sea-washed shores and Turner skies, a sort of stepping-stone between Pink Floyd and Mendelssohn’s “Fingal’s Cave”.
“Hallowed Ground” pulls us back down to earth, with its gritty lyrics and traditional blues groove, as shadows reach out across this Island’s hallowed ground; a reflection of our own present-day dystopia. We find ourselves at “Era’s End”, an odd, unworldly sort of ’60’s Pong video game, with acoustic accompaniment! This 14-track invention is an eclectic soundscape, though I can’t overlook the traditional, acoustic Louisianan road shack-styled “Lay My Body Down”, or Troy’s slide-savaging, raw rendition of the glorious, “John The Revelator”. Plucked from the antisocial solitude into which mankind has been plunged, this is a thought-provoking selection of songs and sketches. It’s encouraging to see so many people investing this new time in reflection and hope for our future. Let’s all hope we see the return of live music from the likes of Troy Redfern.
By: Graham Munn