Interviews & Reviews

Interview with Pear Shaped Magazine HERE

“Railing against the establishment –  RED DIRT aim a bold and piercing statement at the corrupt, tainted, and violent.  RED DIRT have combined folk jazz and songwriting to significant effect on this debut album…  The first rate production places the focus on the wisdom and power of the lyrics.”

Musician (The Musician’s Union magazine)

“I thought the album was brilliant – I really enjoyed it”

Chris Jaeger – Routes Music/Speaking Volumes

 Monday 23rd June at the Cellar – Red Dirt

Red Dirt are Russell Middleton – lead vocals / guitar and Ian Turner – double bass.

For a pair of “miserable bastards from Devon” (a quote that won’t get me into any trouble as they said it themselves!) they sure pulled a crowd and kept everyone entertained.

The Landlord, Steve, requested a review of this duo as he really likes what they do – they are the only group playing all their own material to have appeared more than once at The Cellars.

It has to be said that I almost didn’t make it to this gig after a hard weekend of partying and was about 15 minutes (fashionably) late. But having heard what these guys were doing I wished I’d been there from the start. Still, maybe they’ll send me a free CD when they read this!

So, to the music. Predominantly folk rock in style but with clear underlying jazz influences, particularly from, the double bass player. Each song was discernibly different from the last which, unfortunately, often isn’t the case with bands playing their own material.

Russell, the hairy hippy guitarist didn’t just strum his way through every number – there were some catchy riffs yes, but there was a fair amount of finger picking too, melodiously melancholic. He even put down the guitar a couple of times.

Once in favour of a kazoo and then again for a comedy song (that they’d try and have you believe was for all you lovers of ceramics!) featuring just the double bass and vocals.

To watch Ian slap out a funky solo on the double bass makes you wonder why anyone ever bothers with an electric bass.

The instrument itself may look as though it’s been involved in a road accident but it certainly doesn’t sound any the worse for it. Vocally they work well together.

Russell’s voice is no doubt smoke damaged but expressive none the less and he uses his full range backed harmoniously by Ian.

All in all a funny old mixture of folk and rock done acoustically, in a modern and jazzy way. Or, to put it another way, it’s “music to drink beer to”. Funnily enough they met in a pub and have been playing together as Red Dirt for two years, although they have over forty years of musical experience between the two of them.

Lyrically, Red Dirt are inspired by a group called Gang of Four. I’ve never heard of them but intend to check them out now.

Russell sings about everything from the political to the absurd. From America and it’s attitude to dropping bombs, to songs about caterpillars, rhododendrons and daytime TV!

At times real and insightful, and at others cynical and obscure in the way that you get from having spent many a stoned hour contemplating life and love. These guys are also capable of a couple of happy songs.

Literally, one each set! I really can’t say anything bad about this duo. They are entertaining, thought provoking and amusing between numbers as they clearly don’t take themselves too seriously, Ian knows his place (as a bass player that’s one step up from a drummer) and got the drinks in when Russell did a solo guitar song.

A varied set means I will definitely go and see them again without being bored so if you fancy something different to the usual electric four piece rock covers pub band then go and support a venue that consistently offers good live music on a Monday night and see Red Dirt at The Cellars at Eastney on Monday 1st September.


The Eye, South Coast Entertainment Guide

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