Redd Volkaert

No Stranger to a Tele

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With his fireplug build, red Mennonite beard, slouch cap, and stubby fingers, Redd Volkaert sure doesn't look much like a guitar god. But his prodigious chops, wide-ranging musical vocabulary, and shameless passion for twang make him one of the more obvious heirs to the throne of the late Danny Gatton. All right, maybe he's not quite as fiery a picker -- the opening two tracks of his second solo album ("No Stranger to a Tele" and "Diminishing Flames") are downright sedate -- but when he lets loose there are few living guitarists who can outplay him and, unlike Gatton, he also sings. "Before She Made Me Crawl" is almost a parody of the done-wrong country weeper (and his vocal approach is almost a parody of George Jones), and he somehow manages to make his cover of Wynn Stewart's "Big Big Love" sound like a truck song. He swings on the unattractively titled but sweet and lovely "Granny Grunt," and rocks out on the album's final track, a blues entitled "3 1/2 Minutes Left." Twang fans, envious guitarists, and lovers of classic country and early rock & roll will get a huge kick out of this album.

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