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Bluesfest Review: The Red Rails

By Terry Steeves on July 22, 2014

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This would be my first and only show inside the comfortable Barney Danson Theatre at the Canadian War Museum. I caught local act, The Red Rails, an enormously textured rock band who have been stirring up quite a fuss in the last year. They are made up of three incredibly gifted musicians: Kim Vincent (guitar/lead vocals), Chris Slaney (bass/bkg vox), and Steve Brogno (drums). In the short time they’ve been together, they have so far put out a debut self-titled EP of 6 in-your-face tracks, and their newly released CD, entitled, A Living Fiction (Wolf Records), featuring 10 tracks of bone shaking power rock material.

The Red Rails guitarist/lead vocalist, Kim Vincent.

The Red Rails guitarist/lead vocalist, Kim Vincent.

There’s no question about it…the music grabs you instantly. The pristine acoustics inside the theatre further pronounced their wall of sound that came at you full force. It’s hard rock, very melodic, with a ton of flavours and textures. Vincent’s voice cut through the material with a clean and solid fierceness, during which he kept busy with colourful guitar riffs. The rhythm of the bass and drums changed constantly, switching time signatures, half-time into double-time (and vice versa), sometimes following each other, or sometimes the bass would follow the guitar. There were very effective starts and stops, and sudden abrupt endings, which gave an enhanced dramatic edge, and left you sitting in your seat drooling for more.

I can’t pick out a favorite, because each song had a different thing to love about it. “One In The Attack” had a smouldering southern drawl to it, as it built into a lush crescendo, with Vincent’s wide vocal range at times reaching overdrive levels that hinted of Chris Cornell.

“Lions” had a powerfully rhythmic groove to it, further enhanced by the guitar and bass playing in unison…a very Lenny Kravitz flavour. One from their debut EP, “Why”, was full of rich funky bass riff lines and at times I heard cool Hendrix-type tones. Amazing textured vocals…at one moment they were the razor’s edge, and the next they were brought down low with great added lower harmonies by Slaney.

“El Dorado” had a very Zeppelin-esque meets Red Hot Chili Peppers feel to it, with more of those hair-raising static vocals. There were several bars of Vincent singing in unison with what he was playing on the guitar. A gem of a surprise ensued with the Beatles tune, “Heavy”…played to perfection, displaying this band’s tightness and vocal ability. The song choice encapsulated the presence of rhythm changes and the very modern edges that the brilliance of the Beatles displayed, showing how very much ahead of their time they truly were.

The hour flew by as I sat raptured by these three and their very moving brand of modern hard rock meets classic rock. I could hear some very early 70’s prog/rock influences of Zeppelin, Hendrix, and Deep Purple that wove its way in and out of the music. The Red Rails set sail on their eastern Canada tour, with a kick-off show at Aylmer’s, Le Bostaurus (61 Rue Principale), Fri. Jul. 25th at 9pm. This is a show you don’t want to miss!

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