Redfish are a blistering UK based soul-blues ensemble.
A live phenomenon of growing reputation, this five-piece outfit mix original compositions with razor-sharp interpretations of classics from the canon.
The band are not characterised by one star but by the intense musical chemistry they generate between them: their respect, not only for each other but for the music they play and the audiences they entertain, resonates with every note.
"You wouldn't wish a tortured soul on anyone, but when it generates music this good, it's hard not to think it might just be worth it".
Latest Review Snippets
Redfish contribute an original blues masterpiece Immaterial Man from their highly acclaimed 5x5 EP. Impassioned vocals from lead singer Stumblin’ Harris are underpinned by the tightest of rhythm sections which enable guitarist Martin McDonald and keyboard player extraordinaire Fraser Clark to demonstrate their creative talents. Clark is both a showman and a genius, his speed, dexterity and compositions reminiscent of the best in the world, from Brian Auger to Keith Emerson. Jock's Juke Joint 4 Album Review - David Scott
“...this relatively new five piece now gaining widespread acclaim with their atmospheric, dynamic, high-energy performances. I saw them at Edinburgh Blues Club last year and they upstaged the high profile American headliners”. Blues in Britain Magazine, 2018
“...a band to be reckoned with and well worth seeing live on stage to experience their showmanship, professionalism, eccentricity and passion”. Blues Matters Magazine, 2018
"I’ve been promoting blues events in the UK for coming up 20 years and I would be most comfortable in recommending Redfish to any other venue/festival".
Nick Westgarth – Carlisle Blues/Rock Festival (Organiser/Promoter/Director)
UK’s Redfish Bare Their Souls On Sensational New Release
American Blues Scene
"This album of 12 original songs by Redfish comes hot on the heels of the band’s highly praised debut EP, 5×5, and confirms the meteoric rise of these exceptional musicians from the England and Scotland border region...Beautifully arranged, glorious, genre-busting and at times breathtaking extravaganza".
Read the full review here.
Pix Courtesy of Phil Rigby
Border Blues Club Review - January 2019
"Wow! What a return to the new programme of Rhythm & Blues music at the Borders Blues Club on Friday.
The evening was opened in fine style by Peebles Bluesman Sam Mundy - Musician setting the bar high with a set of acoustic country blues and sublime finger picked playing. Listing his influences as Skip James, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Robert Johnson, and Muddy Waters among others, Sam plays and sings with a passion and authenticity of tone that is straight out of the Southern States.
The evening continued with some soulful Rhythm & Blues from the Dumfries/Carlisle outfit, Redfish, and what a band they are!
The combined experience and quality of playing of all of the band’s members is nothing compared to the magic of their onstage brilliance. There's such chemistry of interaction and consideration for each other’s playing; whilst retaining such a tight and punchy sound, that it’s impossible not to dance.
Redfish, playing for over two hours, fed off the enthusiasm and energy that the Border Blues Club, Innerleithen audience returned to them, playing red hot sets of songs from artists such as Sonny Boy Williamson and Junior Wells, to Bill Withers and Gil Scott-Heron, as well as their own self-penned songs that highlight their creative talents. And oh my, what talents they are.
Tight, funky riffs and rhythms delivered straight from the boiler room by drummer Sandy Sweetman and bass player Rod Mackay laid the rock solid foundations. These sounds were blessed and embellished by the virtuoso playing and vintage sound of Martin McDonald’s guitar and slide work, played through Leslie speakers more usually used to enhance the sound of Hammond organs. In partnership of improvisational melody were the keyboard talents of Fraser Clark. Brother Fray, as he is affectionately known to his fellow band members, plays with an energy, passion and dynamic style that emanates from his whole body, across the keys and into the hearts of the audience, who he enchants and mesmerises in equal measure. As if this cocktail of talent wasn’t enough, the whole intoxicating mix is garnished beautifully by the soulful delivery of vocals by frontman Stumblin' Harris. Harris’s love of soulful rhythm and blues is evident in his passionate delivery to his audience, who hang on every word of his performance.
In short, another fabulous night for the Border Blues Club,
Innerleithen audience whose numbers are growing exponentially every month, and with quality acts like Redfish and Sam Mundy - Musician gracing our club, it’s no small wonder. Hang on to your hats for our next show folks… Ex Argent Frontman John Verity is playing 22 Feb 19 with support from Unfinished Business. Gonna be another rockin’ night at your Blues Club.
Jock's Juke Joint 4 Album Review - David Scott
Redfish contribute an original blues masterpiece Immaterial Man from their highly acclaimed 5x5 EP. Impassioned vocals from lead singer Stumblin’ Harris are underpinned by the tightest of rhythm sections which enable guitarist Martin McDonald and keyboard player extraordinaire Fraser Clark to demonstrate their creative talents. Clark is both a showman and a genius, his speed, dexterity and compositions reminiscent of the best in the world, from Brian Auger to Keith Emerson.
Nick Westgarth – Carlisle Blues/Rock Festival (Organiser/Promoter/Director)
I have worked with Redfish at the Carlisle Blues/Rock Festival over the last couple of years and seen them progress from a very good local band to one of the best authentic blues bands in the UK, and I’m not one for handing out such praise lightly, they really are that good.
The band has been together in the same line-up for several years and it’s clear to see there’s a real chemistry when they play, no egos, no nonsense, just five experienced and very accomplished musicians performing at the top of their game.
Individually, although it’s not about individuals in this band, Redfish have veteran vocalist Stumblin’ Harris, very much in the Joe Cocker mould, fronting the band with Martin McDonald on guitar and Fraser Clark on keys backed by the tight, solid rhythm section of Rod Mackay (bass) and Sandy Sweetman on drums.
In Martin and Fraser they have two of the finest players you are likely to see at any venue/festival anywhere. Martin is up there with the very best guitarists in the UK, superb touch, feel and tone with the likes of Freddie King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and (insert another major influence) influences shining through his playing; Fraser on keys is wonderfully eccentric with a unique stage presence which just has to be seen, but it’s his playing that stands out, he is a top-class, classically trained, player and one of five talented, highly professional individuals which come together to form a very special musical unit.
I’ve been promoting blues events in the UK for coming up 20 years and I would be most comfortable in recommending Redfish to any other venue/festival.
5x5 EP Review - Blues in Britain - Dave Scott
When the Pope dies and goes to heaven he looks for his house and comes across several mansions which he claims must be his. But every time he asks “Is that mine?” he is told, “No, it’s Ray Manzarek’s... No, it’s Jon Lord’s... No, it’s Brian Auger’s...” Eventually he pulls up outside a rundown shack with his name on it, located in the bad side of heaven. “What’s this about, I can’t live here I’m the pope!” only to be told, “Hey, popes are a dime a dozen; a good keyboard player is hard to find.”
I was reminded of this story when I listened to this debut CD 5x5 on Lost Wasp Records from UK Cumbrian and the Scottish borders band Redfish, hearing their amazing keyboard player Fraser Clark. Classically-trained and a seriously good jazz and blues player and composer, Clark has immense creative qualities and technical abilities which are hard to find on the current scene.
Not that Redfish are a one-man band, this relatively new five-piece now gaining widespread acclaim with their atmospheric, dynamic, high-energy performances.
I saw them at Edinburgh Blues Club last year and they upstaged the high profile American headliners with a barnstorming set of covers, albeit clever and refreshing interpretations. The only unanswered question was could they also come up with some good original material? 5x5 answers this in the affirmative and although an EP, at just under 30 minutes of intense blues, it feels close to a full album.
The funky opening number, “For The Love Of The Wrong Woman,” sets the scene, with Rod Mackay’s pulsating bass and Sandy Sweetman’s precise drumming the perfect platform for Martin McDonald’s intricate guitar fills and Clark’s restrained contributions.
The second original song, “Accustomed To The Darkness,” demonstrates how all five musicians engage in the song writing process from the initial groove through to the addition of structure, melody and lyrics. Lead singer Stumblin’ Harris gives the words meaning through sensitive yet impassioned vocals, his range impressive as he responds to the growing crescendo of McDonald’s searing guitar work.
Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Temperature 110” and Jimmy McCracken’s “Every Night and Every Day” keep the band rooted in deep blues, the latter featuring sensational keys which take the breath away.
The transition to the third original track is seamless, ‘”Immaterial Man,” sounding as good if not better than the preceding covers.
Dave Miller of Circa 16 in Dumfries deserves credit for capturing such a high quality live studio recording. Overall, this album represents a landmark in the continued evolution of Redfish as a band to be reckoned with, and well worth seeing live on stage to experience their showmanship, professionalism, eccentricity and passion.
--- Dave Scott
(vocals) first got into the blues as a child, through listening to his father's Josh White records.
He started singing in pubs and clubs when he was 17 and, over the years, has shared stages with the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Steve Young, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Andy Irvine and many other roots music luminaries.
Having worked in independent record shops through much of his life, Brian's love for music is expansive. "When I was growing up, music appreciation was a very tribal thing.
"You had your goths, your metal heads, your soul boys, your punks, whatever, but I never felt I fitted into one of those tribes, as I liked certain albums and artists from pretty much every genre" he says. "I'm especially attracted to the deep soul music - rhythm 'n' blues, folk, jazz, country and so on - and if my bandmates and I can make someone in the audience feel just a fraction of what I feel when I listen to a Nina Simone record then I can go home a happy man. It's all about searching for that sweet spot, that hair standing up on the back of your neck moment."
(guitar/ slide) has an extensive background in gutsy blues and roots, having played little else since he was 13.
His trademark vintage technique and sound have been honed and perfected over many years. Martin uses a huge Leslie speaker to project a unique vortex of pure tone. Once seen and heard, never forgotten. From Penrith, Martin has been influenced by Stevie Ray- and Jimmie- Vaughan, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Nick Curran, to name a few.
Martin featured in Blueskin for many years, followed by Groovejuice, and The Nailhead Hitters. He toured with New York’s Russell "Hitman" Alexander for a couple of years across the UK.
More recently, Martin played as joint-lead guitarist with the highly-acclaimed The Deluxe. Mr McDonald still captures the best blues gigs with his laconic phrase “That had some good bits.”
(keys), from Perth has played and sung with a variety of groups from an early age.
At the age of 12 Fraser took up piano lessons. He went on to study classical music at Glasgow University before completing a Masters degree in composition from the same institution.
From the age of 17 Fraser experimented with playing jazz and blues. He still does, and he recently released a highly-innovative jazz single, ‘Tricky’, with The Fraser Clark Collective.
The blues artists that most inform his playing are Otis Spann and Memphis Slim. However, his true hero is Dr. John, ‘I love how he has such a languid and easy style of playing, yet still being bang on the beat!’
Fraser’s keyboard expertise and stage eccentricity are key elements of the pure dynamic energy which define Redfish. Combined with Martin’s guitar, it can create quiet space, or a swirling, irresistible onslaught of power.
(bass) took up the instrument aged 16, having played orchestral music from childhood, when he lived in Edinburgh.
Heavily influenced by the percussive and relentless grooves of Bernard Edwards and James Jamerson, Rod is drawn to the funky blues of Albert King, and is forever delighted by the arrangements of The Funk Brothers. “It’s all about that hypnotic, harmonic thump of a fat string moving air, driving the music. Mingus and Monk really got that. B.B. King’s band is like a tide. Freddie King’s is phenomenal.
Best bass note I ever felt was on a 1963 Jim Reeves Christmas album.
Flat or tape wound strings. Always.” Rod, together with Martin, was part of the muscular blues delivery of The Deluxe.
(drums) has played in numerous original and function acts since the age of 14 as a professional/ semi- professional musician.
Since 2013, he has drummed for the Bay City Rollers, Eric Faulkner, touring Germany and many other “bizarre” drop-in gigs across various countries since. “A truly great experience, and I am not in any way embarrassed to admit it!” laughs Sandy.
He joined Redfish, “pushing my playing to another level with this array of fine and dedicated musicians.”
Sandy cites some drumming legends as his primary influences: groove-meisters Steve Gadd and Jeff Porcaro, “and I respect the sheer simplicity and appropriateness of Gilson Lavis and Ralph Salmins.”