Roine Stolt, guitar player and vocalist from Swedish prog rock icons The Flower Kings, is a true workaholic. Despite his involvement with other renowned band projects (Transatlantic, The Tangent and the reunited Kaipa) the founder and mastermind of the The Flower Kings still finds time for his own solo projects. After the last Flower Kings opus “Adam & Eve” (2004), Stolt sets a completely different path for his fifth solo album, which sees him charting some previously unexplored musical territory.
The double album “Wall Street Voodoo” is a kind of reminiscence to the blues rock of the late Sixties and Seventies, with the exceptional guitarist bowing before the musical pioneers who were obviously a much more formative influence on him than he has previously showed.
“I grew up in a time”, says Stolt, “when the shape,substance and expression of rock music still was something important ,a vision and a way of life,often with a political touch in the lyrics ,as we were in the middle of the Vietnam war and times were changing ,people liberated themselves from old ideals. Music was something more than just a cool image,pre-fabricated aggression of hardcore metal or a careless dance and fashion of today’s MTV. It was a time when rock music, as we know it today, was shaped and defined, an era of change when fixed R&R patterns of Bill Haley's “Rock Around the Clock” were gradually mixed with a new artistic inventions and new instruments such as Moog synthesisers, Mellotron,Wha-wha ,phasers and fuzzboxes and other new effects. Just imagine you are thirteen years old and this wave of creative musical power just flood your mind you. I guess this was the most important time of my music life as far as influences and inspiration goes. Without it I would probably not have decided to get myself an electric guitar”.
Stolt is obviously very deeply rooted in this era as evidenced by his words, “I still love the smell of a Fender amp which has been running for a while”. So it was only a question of (a long) time until Stolt would pay musical tribute to these times. Together with Marcus Liliequist, the new Flower Kings drummer and burlesque percussionist Hasse Bruniusson, as well as some other selected prominent guests, he began to work on his latest project. One of the album’s guests is former Spock’s Beard lead vocalist Neal Morse. The other performers however have more of an air of mystery to them. “I must not reveal them”, Stolt says regrettably. “They are all well known musicians from other genres who, due to contractual reasons, cannot reveal their real names”. So one can only guess who is behind the curious pseudonyms of Mr. Geffen, Pothead, and Woof.
There is no mystery however behind the sixteen new songs on “Wall Street Voodoo”. Each song holds a sense of fascination and an undoubted quality. Once again, Stolt proves to be a master of the strings, as he conjures the memory of former greats Peter Green, Jimi Hendrix, Robin Trower and Frank Zappa. The album recalls the musical feel of such acts as The Allman Brothers, Cream,The Beatles,Procol Harum, as well as newer contemporaries Don Henley,Prince or Steely Dan.
However, Roine Stolt would not be Roine Stolt if he didn’t set his own trends. The album’s familiar sounds therefore seem to have undergone a radical transformation. This is made possible by excellent and dynamic recordings, an incredible creative rhythm section, and ideal 6-string arrangements. “I started with a blues album which gradually became a ‘post-psychedelic blues album, and then finally just a music album" Stolt sums up the results of “Wall Street Voodoo”. Those who are familiar with the musical pioneers Stolt pays tribute to will hear some illuminating before and after comparisons, while others will simply enjoy this music that is carried by outstanding guitar work, radiating enthusiasm and credibility. The way Stolt performs on this album shows that he would have been a celebrated guitar hero in the Seventies. And the heroes of days past would have found him a worthy adversary.