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Redd Volkaert

Reddhead – 2008 (Telehog)

Reviewed by Greg Yost

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CDs by Redd Volkaert

As a former lead guitar player for Merle Haggard's supporting band, The Strangers, Texas's Redd Volkaert is widely recognized throughout the country music industry for his mastery of the Fender Telecaster guitar. But with his latest independent release, Volkaert puts less emphasis on flashy playing and succeeds in creating an album that really showcases his vocal abilities.

Even though Volkaert's rough-hewn singing style may not draw comparisons to legendary country music vocalists, it has an undeniable warmth and familiarity that perfectly complements his music. Whether playing a roadhouse blues rocker like Call the Pound, a swinging honky tonk number like Is Anything Alright or a jailhouse ballad like I'll Break Out Tonight his unpolished, but heartfelt vocal delivery is versatile enough to carry the tune.

While "Reddhead" does offer a healthy helping of his vocals, fans of Volkaert's Telecaster work should rest easy knowing that his fiery chops are still featured prominently throughout the 14 tracks. Of particular note are the twangy and shuffling Volkaert composition Send It Back and a swinging take on Buddy Emmons' Raisin' the Dickens, the two instrumental tracks.

With the support of a talented team of musicians including Buzz Evans on steel guitar, Chris Gilson on drums, Rich Harney on keyboards and Nate Rowe on bass, Volkaert gives country music fans another red headed Stranger to love.