Redd Volkaert, "Always Late (With Your Kisses)"
Another little item that slipped through the cracks this year Lonesome Onry and Mean feels negligent for not reporting is Austin king picker Redd Volkaert's Reddhead. It says something about the musician Volkaert is when, in Reddhead's "Thanks" section, he acknowledges "all the players and singers I ever stole from."
Judging by the eclectic mix of material - everything from The Box Tops' classic "The Letter" to Waylon's "Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line" to Whitey Schafer's prison tear-jerker "I'll Break Out Again Tonight" - Redd poaches in a wide range of musical forests. While the former Merle Haggard lead guitarist is a sure-handed interpreter, it's his own songwriting and singing that make Reddhead the best solo release of his career.
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Redd Volkaert, "Sleepwalk"
He and writing partner Laura Durham have hit pay dirt with two sarcastic good-ole-boy musings, "We Need To Talk" ("We need to talk doesn't really mean we/ I sit and listen while she talks about me") and the even more caustic "Just Because I Don't Care." Volkaert's "Is Anything Alright?" completes a brutally frank honky-tonk trifecta.
By the time he's finished, Volkaert has left no doubt why he's one of the most highly regarded pickers in Austin, as well as a musician's musician. - William Michael Smith