Roine Stolt is best known for fronting the acclaimed progressive band The Flower Kings. But in the back of his mind, the Swedish guitarist has long wanted to pay tribute to the axe heroes of his youth – Hendrix, Clapton, Trower, Allman, Zappa, and so on. That electric dream has finally come to fruition on this crafty new solo album.
The Flower Kings may play prog, but when you listen to Roine (pronounced Roy-nah) play guitar, you can hear all the bluesy influences of his generation. On Wall Street Voodoo, he dispenses with much of his usual progressive ornamentation and gets down to primal root of blues, funk, psychedelic, and jazz-inspired rock, circa 1967-’73.
In “Head Above Water,” the guitarist pays homage to Cream’s “White Room” riff with a number of hot leads before ushering in a hot jam reminiscent of the Allman Brothers. Roine has also had a long-time affair with classic wah tones (he uses a vintage Vox and a newer Dunlop pedal here) and you can hear it everywhere on the disc, notably in his rockin’ cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Sex Kills.” And for authentic funk blues, à la Albert King, cue up “Outcast.” Its soulful, minor-key solos make you grin ear to ear.
To conjure up these magical tones, Roine cut tracks with a ’53 Les Paul goldtop modded with PAF humbuckers (wired out of phase to emulate Peter Green’s fabled tone), a 2004 Fender Tele Thinline, also with ‘buckers, Parker Fly Deluxe, and a ’64 Gibson ES-175. Roine’s backline was composed of an early-’70s Fender Dual Showman, a ’70s Bassman, and a more recent Marshall JTM45 head and cab, along with a pile of analog stompboxes. Yes, folks, there are vintage gearheads everywhere… even in far off Sweden.
Wall Street Voodoo is a wild trip filled with soul-stirring solos, quirky melodies, and an old-school vibe that doesn’t sound like it came off a Xerox machine. Stolt’s music will challenge and provoke you; ultimately, it’s one of the most interesting blues-fueled records released in years.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Feb. ’06 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.