Redd Volkaert No Stranger To A Tele

Redd may look like an Amish truck driver, but the title of his second solo release is more than apt; the boy does know his way around a telecaster, all right. The Vancouver native (now living in Austin, TX) knocked around playing clubs before heading south to the land of Uncle Sam, and eventually ended up as one of Merle Haggard's Strangers, a job he's held since 1997. And while he definitely has the musical chops, he doesn't let them get in the way of good music or a good time. Having fingers that look more like bratwursts only makes his guitar playing all the more impressive. The 14 tracks include some fine chicken-pickin', some shuffles, truck driving songs, jazz, noir, Western swing, weepers, surf, Celtic, bluegrass and blues. Fairly often you'll find several of those in a single song. His baritone is warm and plain, but serviceable at best, which makes the decision to have the majority of the LP instrumental a smart one. (Hightone)