Ida Red is the musical endeavor of steel guitarist Rose Sinclair and guitarist Sophia Johnson, two Texas transplants who packed up their lives and moved to Austin (the former from across the country, the latter from across the pond) to hone their skills playing the style of music born in the Lone Star State — western swing. These two award-winning musicians discovered a shared interest in playing the “twin guitar” parts in the music of Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, and decided to pursue that tradition by playing the classic tunes as well as incorporating guitar-and-steel harmony parts into new original material.
Rose and Sophia met when they were both hired to put together music for a Cindy Walker Tribute at the 2019 Ameripolitan Music Award show in Memphis, TN. Texas songwriter Cindy Walker wrote many hit songs for Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, which are western swing standards today. They arranged and worked out the twin parts, expanding into some trio parts with fiddler Katie Shore (Asleep at the Wheel) who was also part of the all-women project, involving a 7-piece band with 6 guest singers. The show was a success and upon returning to Austin, Rose and Sophia decided to forge ahead, roping in a rhythm section and taking their twin guitar swing into the clubs.