Redfern, Hutchinson and Ross set sail on Mahogany Drift

Debut Album from RHR as Mike Ross, Jack H. Hutchinson & Troy Redfern Join Forces.

Take three premier British blues-rock guitarists, put them together in a studio, light the touch paper and stand back…then appreciate the result after they spent two days in Brighton’s Electric Studio. The three in question are: Troy Redfern, the Herefordshire born multi-instrumentalist who is also a stunning slide guitar player; Jack J Hutchinson, a London based guitarist and songwriter noted for blues-rock with a southern tinge; Mike Ross, the Americana with an edge guitarist. They have banded together and, under the RHR moniker they have recently released their debut album, enticingly called Mahogany Drift. Blending their individual styles and influences, they have put together eleven original songs delivering southern rock, blues, blues-rock and some welcome hunks of jam band sensibilities. Across the tracks you will hear all of that but, when you factor in such varied influences as T-Rex, Elmore James, the three Kings and a bit of Johnny Winter the eclectic result, whilst not yet fully formed, is a delight from start to finish. Each contribute three ‘solo compositions’ and there are two instrumentals where they collaborate fully to supply a couple of tunes you need to have some toast ready for…they are full fruit jams!

Opening song, She Painted The Moon, is where I heard the first T-Rex comparison as the riff is a seriously heavy Marc Bolan backed with slide to come up with a brilliant development of his trademark blues based melody. Add in the Stones playing the Beatles and then stuff in some great guitar soloing and you end up with a song that is still all original and really enjoyable. Rapture is next and rocks in a Faces/T-Rex way and, complete with a subtle and crafted solo is sheer fun. Home On Judgement Day takes us into a shuffle drum and acoustic slide opening with an oriental feel. It builds in a Zeppelin fashion to a short electric solo to make this a highlight amongst many. Next up is the first of the two collaborative instrumentals; Mahogany is faded (too soon) and revisited later in Drift. This is evidence that these three were fated and now feted to work together…this is Govt Mule/Allman Brothers territory and therefore is a very good place to be. A great background riff provides space for each to excel…and they do. It does disappear too soon however. Ghost Hound Rider brings a southern edge to the fore with more Allman feeling but with an original approach and yet more great riffs and solos. Satisfied takes us back to a heavier and pacier riff which, with its less distinct vocals and simplistic riff is a bit too fuzzy in an ‘alt.’ way for me although the discordant solo is brilliant. Solemn Song breaks the tension the previous track built, with a slow, magical melody that stays with you. It all builds to superb, soaring slide as the finish lifts the song and the mood in a southern rock come country way. Part two of the jam is next with Drift completing the album title with a measly two minutes of brilliance. Holler stays in the south in a Byrds kind of way and a great guitar wrapping neatly around the vocals to provide an enjoyable harmony led song. Leviathan changes it all again as we get some beautiful dark, delta style blues. This song with its deep and moody feel, coupled with stunning slide is my favourite by a mile. By the way, hearing the bottleneck hit the frets adds realism and feel and makes it even more authentic, natural and emotional…this is Elmore reborn. The album closes with Miles Away and supplies, I suppose the description is ‘radio friendly’, even though there aren’t many friendly radios left! The saving grace is the slide solo in the middle, which is sheer class.

The whole album is really very good if sometimes feeling a bit disparate…due, I guess, to the three guys contributing already written songs. I cannot help but imagine what they will sound like when they sit down together and conjure up the magic that Mahogany and Drift tantalise us with. You will sit and down and write it, won’t you guys? Please! There isn’t a duff song here though and, if you like southern, blues and rock there is a wealth of entertainment awaiting you on this skilled and finely crafted album.

NINEpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track listing and composers:

  1. She Painted The Moon (Ross)
  2. Rapture (Hutchinson)
  3. Home On Judgement Day (Redfern)
  4. Mahogany (RHR)
  5. Ghost Hound Rider (Ross)
  6. Satisfied (Redfern)
  7. Solemn Song (Hutchinson)
  8. Drift (RHR)
  9. Holler (Hutchinson)
  10. Leviathan (Ross)
  11. Miles Away (Redfern)

Musicians:

Troy Redfern: Guitar & vocal
Jack Hutchinson: Guitar & Vocal
Mike Ross: Guitar & Vocal
Darren Lee: Drums
Jack Browning: Bass

Produced by Al Scott at Brighton Electric Studios.

Redfern, Hutchinson and Ross set sail on Mahogany Drift
Jack Hutchinson – Troy Redfern – Mike Ross

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