Redd Volkaert



There are a handful of Telecaster masters, and Volkaert is one of them. Some say he’s country, and much of his essence is rooted in the genre, but he’s more complex than that. One gets the sense there’s a rocker deep inside, as he gives off the same aura as the late Danny Gatton; John Jorgensen during his Hellecaster days; Junior Brown on any of his albums; or more recently, the well-kept secret that is Johnny Hiland.

No wonder, considering his emigration path from Canada. Entering the States through Northern California, he gigged his way south through San Jose and Santa Cruz before arriving at his first musical melting pot, Los Angeles. After soaking up that scene, he continued toward his destination of Nashville, but not before a winter and summer in Texas. Six years or so later, Merle Haggard gave him a gig that lasted two to three years before Volkaert ended up where all guitar slingers who target Music City end up: his second musical melting pot, Austin, where he’s been comfortably settled for eight years.

These days he keeps busy playing the Continental Club with Heybale, and the Broken Spoke with the Lucky Tomblin Band. “Reddhead” is his fourth solo album and first on his own label, Telehog, which probably explains the disc’s “anything goes” feel.

There’s the Ventures-meets-Joe Maphis bent of “Reddline Fever.” The Southwestern twang of “Jackhammer Rock” (written by Lubbock musician, hobo hero and cowboy Eddie Beethoven). The country vs. rockabilly Al Anderson/Andy Paley rave-up “Goosebumps” (originally on Jerry Lee Lewis’ 1995 album, “Young Blood”). And that’s just the first three songs.

Other highlights include the bluesy “Call the Pound,” a swampy cover of the Box Tops’ “The Letter” and a redneck-jazz takeoff on Buddy Emmons’ “Raisin’ the Dickens,” one of two instrumentals in the Speedy West & Jimmy Bryant vein with Buzz Evans on pedal steel.

Western swing, honky-tonk and even Southern rock also are covered, and fellow Heybale member Gary Claxton harmonizes throughout.

1. Reddline Fever
2. Jackhammer Rock
3. Goosebumps
4. Is Anything Alright
5. Call The Pound
6. I Know How I’d Feel
7. The Letter
8. Raisin’ The Dickens
9. We Need To Talk
10. End Of The Line
11. Just Because I Don’t Care
12. Send It Back
13. Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line
14. I’ll Break Out Again Tonight

Total time: 44:39

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Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys

Turntable Matinee

Yep Roc

Sandy and the boys started out in the mid ’90s as a retro rockabilly outfit, but soon branched out to Western swing, country, folk and even a little jazz. Following a break in which bandleader and band recorded an album apart from each other, the group reunited for the 1999 EP, “Radio Favorites,” which boasted some refreshingly exotic numbers.

Two studio albums and a compilation later, they’ve arrived at “Turntable Matinee,” which really is like sitting down with a portable record player and dropping that needle in the groove.

But there are a few twists, notably the four-song block comprising “The Great State of Misery,” coming across as a hybrid “Wasn’t Born to Follow” and “Last Train to Clarksdale”; “Haunted Heels,” with its “Sleepwalk”-like pedal steel riff; the country pickin’ meets spaghetti Western meets Gene Krupa “Ruby Jane”; and the bossa nova-style “Spanish Dagger.”

Other random (and that’s what this album’s all about — eclecticism) surprises include “Slippin’ Away,” an ode to Memphis soul; and a dobro-infused contribution from bassist Jeff West, “Lonesome Dollar.”

1. Power Of The 45
2. Love That Man
3. The Great State Of Misery
4. Haunted Heels
5. Ruby Jane
6. Spanish Dagger
7. Mad
8. The Ones You Say You Love
9. You Don’t Know Me At All
10. Yes (I Feel Sorry For You)
11. Lonesome Dollar
12. Slippin’ Away
13. I Know I’ve Loved You Before
14. Power Of The 45, Pt. 2
15. Spanish Dagger (hidden instrumental track)

Total time: 46:08

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Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks

Selected Shorts


That’s Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, not to be confused with Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks. They are two different groups — the latter having finished its four-album career in 1973, and the former releasing its debut in 2000.

“Shorts,” the studio follow-up to the turn-of-the-century “Beatin’ the Heat,” finds Dan the Man up to his old tricks but with some new dogs. Old tricks in the sense that he’s dusted off songs he’s either written, started to write, thought about writing or covered over the years but never got around to recording, with the result being a continuation of the His Hot Licks sound and probably his best album since that era. New dogs in the sense that the new-millennium Hot Licks are an ever-changing band, this time featuring Tony Garnier (Bob Dylan) on bass, Jim Keltner on drums, original member Sid Page on violin and up-and-coming guitarist Gonzalo Bergara.

Manhattan Transfer’s Tim Hauser helps out with production, and guests include Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffett, Van Dyke ParksGibby Haynes and Jack Sheldon. Ray Benson and Gary Hoey do some spot production, and Hoey also plays guitar a little and does some engineering.

1. Mama’s Boy Blues
2. That’s Where I Am
3. Hey Bartender
4. Willie
5. One More Cowboy
6. Barstool Boogie
7. C’Mon-A-My House
8. First I Lost My Marbles
9. That Ain’t Right
10. Cue The Violins
11. I’ll See You In My Dreams
12. Texas Kinda Attitude
13. That’s The Smoke They’re Blowin’
14. That Ain’t Right (Gibby Phones It In mix)

Total time: 52.2 minutes

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