Redd Volkaert is the master of the Telecaster.
The successor to Roy Nichols in Merle Haggard’s legendary backing band the Strangers, Volkaert has played with a who’s who that includes Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, George Jones, Alison Krauss, Rose Maddox, Bill Monroe, Buck Owens, Mavis Staples, Merle Travis and Rhonda Vincent.
A two-time winner of the Austin Music Award for best guitarist, Volkaert won the 2009 best country instrumental Grammy for “Cluster Pluck,” a song on which he joined this stellar lineup of pickers --- Brad Paisley, James Burton, Vince Gill, John Jorgenson, Albert Lee, Brent Mason and Steve Wariner.
Here’s what All Music has to say about Redd:
“Volkaert is not only possessed of superhuman chops but is also a master of multiple American music idioms -- he can play jazz, country, rock, Western swing, and even note-for-note replicas of Earl Scruggs bluegrass banjo licks.”
Redd's a fixture in Austin, Texas, where he contributes to records and plays all kinds of shows -- solo, with the likes of western swing pianist Floyd Domino and with his country band, Heybale!, in its weekly residency at the Continental Club.
That means Volkaert isn’t on the road much these days. But he’ll be in Lincoln Wednesday for a special show.
“It’s my birthday and I wanted Redd to play at the Zoo Bar at least once,” Zoo owner Pete Watters said. “I talked to Mark Stuart (of the Bastard Sons) about it and he thought maybe they could put together a tour with Redd and the Bastard Sons. That didn’t work out, so we’re flying him in for the one show on Wednesday.”
That show is set for 6 p.m. Lloyd McCarter & the Honky Tonk Revival, who have a fine new album, will open the evening.
Then Volkaert and the Bastard Sons, formerly known as the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash will take the stage for a show of, I’m guessing, country with a little rock ‘n’ roll and lots of Redd’s brilliant guitar work.
A Replacements' live album
Thirty one years after it was recorded, The Replacements’ “For Sale: Live at Maxwell’s 1986” has, at long last, been hauled out of the Warner Brothers vaults, mixed and mastered and unleashed on an unsuspecting public.
Actually, those who care about the album -- all of us cult-like ‘Mats fans -- have been looking forward to hearing the album, recorded on Feb. 2, 1986, at the Hoboken, New Jersey, club since its existence and release were confirmed early this year.
A two-CD, 39-song affair, "Live at Maxwell’s” captures the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band -- of the '80s at least -- at a pivotal time in its career, just after its now legendary “Saturday Night Live” appearance (they were banned from NBC forever after that show) and just before guitarist Bob Stinson was forced out of the band.
I have no idea how many times I saw the Replacements -- in Lincoln and Omaha, across Missouri and Iowa, in Kansas and Texas, their hometown of Minneapolis and in Los Angeles. But it has to be at least 30 shows and likely more.
So I saw triumphant shows and total disasters -- but they were never less than rock ‘n’ roll at its finest. And “Live at Maxwell’s” sounds just right -- a mixture of beauty and chaos, heart and humor, sloppy playing and stunning work.
The set list, put together on the fly, is heavy on songs from “Tim,” the band’s major label debut from 1985, includes a very unpolished version of “Can’t Hardly Wait,” surveys the bands Twin/Tone output and, of course, includes covers of songs by Kiss, the Beatles, Vanity Fare and T-Rex.
And it’s all glorious -- Paul Westerberg is in great form singing and leading the proceedings. Tommy Stinson and his bass is all energy and drive. Chris Mars bashes away on drums while Bob’s guitar work is, well, Bob’s guitar work -- off-kilter and amazing.
The show was recorded via a mobile audio truck and sounds surprisingly good throughout. But it’s too bad there isn’t a visual component -- Bob in a trench coat, dress shoes and socks and nothing else -- would have been something to behold.
In any case, if you’re a ‘Mats fan, you need to get “For Sale: Live at Maxwell’s 1986” and if you’re not, check it out and see what rock ‘n’ roll sounds like.