Harmony Grits is the dazzling debut from western swing combo Ida Red. Based in Austin, TX, founding members Sophia Johnson (guitar & vocal), and Rose Sinclair (steel guitar) are the first female twin guitar team to follow in the swing jazz tradition of dynamic, virtuosic instrumental duos.
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“Rose Sinclair and Sophia Johnson are not afraid… They stepped up and recorded some swing tunes that had to require many hours of rehearsal just to learn the melody and then the harmony to that. In country music, it’s called 'twin guitars.' Of course in their case, it’s guitar and steel. They both keep true to the traditional western swing style and they do it in high-tone fashion. Also, great vocals from Sophia. I know good western swing and these ladies knock fire from it. Thanks for keeping it real.”
— Lloyd Maines, musician and producer
Harmony Grits' title track is Ida Red's version of the 1946 recording by female jazz pioneers Mary Lou Williams’ Girl Stars, and an appropriate name for the project. Johnson and Sinclair pay tribute to the exponents of the twin guitar genre, while adding their own unique flavor and style to the album's combination of classic and original material.
Spanning the territory of western swing, you'll hear blazing hot instrumentals and songs from Bob Wills to the Great American Songbook, as well as original material. The tight instrumental arrangements pack a solid punch and Sophia’s vocal delivers just the right amounts of sweetness, sass and sincerity.
Ida Red headed to Ameripolitan Studios Austin, TX in October 2020 to record Harmony Grits with engineer Cris Burns at the helm. Sinclair and Johnson are joined by their stellar rhythm section Jason Baczynski (drums) and Phil Spencer (bass), plus special guests Emily Gimble (piano), and Lauryn Gould (saxophone) to create this stunning debut packed with real toe tappers and red hot guitar licks.
Photo: Lori Dodson