A 'Reddhead' guitar showcase
Reviewed October 2008
By Red Volkaert
Telehog Records: 2008
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.
Versatile Redd Volkaert has built up quite a reputation in country music as a session guitarist and for his frequent stints as the guitarist in Merle Haggard's session and touring bands. The former Canadian, now hailing from Austin, Texas, has still managed to release five solo albums in the past decade, including his new release, "Reddhead."
Joined by a roster of crack Austin country session men, this 14-cut disc jumps styles from cut to cut as Volkaert can easily handle hard blues rock, as he does on "Call the Pound," "Just Because I Don't Care" and "Jackhammer Rock." Elsewhere, country swing dominates, with "Is Anything Alright," "I Know How I'd Feel" and others, but the album has all shades in between. It actually seems like listening to a disc with one singer (Red's booming baritone) throughout, but different session guitarists.
A cover of "The Letter," done with a rockabilly feel and great solos, is a highlight. On the opener, "Redline Fever," "Goosebumps" and the instrumentals "Raisin' the Dickens" and "Send It Back" as well as on the lead solos on some of the country swing numbers Volkaert lays down the kind of Telecaster picking that channels the late Danny Gatton and clearly shows chops that deserve comparison to Albert Lee, Vince Gill and the recently departed Jerry Reed. He can wrangle squawking tones from the instrument, while filling the air with dazzling scales of notes fired off at breakneck speed, then slow it down to a jazzy filigree with a fat tone on the next tune.
"Reddhead" is primarily a country album from a music standpoint, but can be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates excellent guitar playing.
Review by Frank Kocher, a longtime San Diego resident, musician, music collector and frequent contributor to The San Diego Troubadour.