Review by David Waterfield
It’s always good to see a talented young artist flourishing and it’s especially gratifying when they’re from right here in the Midlands, so it was great to see a large and enthusiastic crowd crammed into Wolverhampton’s Slade Rooms for the launch of Rose Redd’s EP ‘The Healing’.
Prior to that it was a pleasant surprise to see Megan Reece supporting as I’d heard only good things about the young singer/songwriter from Wolverhampton. Her music has a distinct soul, jazz and blues influence, as evidenced by her unusual choice of covers by Cleo Sol (‘High’) and Irma Thomas (Don’t Mess With My Man’) however Megan has her own style and her own songs which made up the majority of her set. Along with guitarist Chris Nicholls she can often be found gigging locally and she’s definitely someone I intend to see again.
Opening with the radio friendly but emotionally raw ‘Perfectly Useless’ followed by the perceptive ‘Mirror Mirror’, Rose Redd cuts a striking, assured figure on stage and the young singer possesses a powerful yet emotive voice.
The quality of her original material is strong throughout (there isn’t a weak song all night) and her heartfelt lyrics have a depth and maturity that belie her years. There’s no better example of this than ‘Girl In The Café’ (featured on the new EP) which takes a real life experience and uses it to weave a sad and poignant tale. ‘Wide Awake’ (which Rose dedicated to all the insomniacs in the audience) is stripped back to just solo vocals and acoustic guitar.
One of the revelations of the night for me was the excellent young band Rose Redd has built around her – Megan Burke (guitar), Laura Baracuda (keyboards), Sammy ‘The Squib’ (bass) and David Johnson (drums). They give Rose Redd’s songs added power when required and open out new dimensions and possibilities for her music. It will be intriguing to see how her sound and song writing develops with a full band behind her. After a sole concession to a cover version (Adele’s ‘Skyfall’) two tracks from the ‘The Healing’ EP – ‘Breathe In’ and the excellent title track – brought the evening to a close.
Rose Redd’s musical style is hard to pigeonhole, but why stick a label on it? Why not just call it honest and passionate because that’s what it is above all.
Her music is developing in leaps and bounds and she is steadily gathering a following around her. Rose Redd’s music deserves to reach an even wider audience but, until then, a great night at The Slade Rooms represents another landmark on the journey.