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Master of the Telecaster

Redd Volkaert was born in British Columbia, Canada. He picked up the guitar at the age of ten, and hasn't put it down since. He cut his teeth playing clubs six nights a week until the age of 16 when he moved to Los Angeles. There he worked clubs and private gigs at night, and he worked on recording sessions and gave guitar lessons during the day. He also regularly traveled to Las Vegas to play show rooms and casinos. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest guitar players in the modern era, and among Western swing and Honky Tonk enthusiast, he is among the country’s top Telecaster guitar slingers.

Redd moved to Nashville in 1990 to play full-time at clubs. Between recording sessions you could find him seven nights a week on Broadway, Printers Alley and anywhere else they offered country music. He became a Nashville staple through his virtuosic lead guitar work. He worked on the road with Johnny Paycheck, George Jones, The Statler Brothers, and Rhonda Vincent, and played on the Grand Ole Opry.  He was the go-to picker for Merle Haggard having joined the legendary ‘Strangers’ band In 1997 he became a 'Stranger' when he joined the legendary Merle Haggard. He continued to record with other country superstars, and in 2009, he won Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance for his work with Brad Paisley. 

“Redd has really shaped the way I play,” Paisley told Vintage Guitar in a 2005 interview. “He’s such a great player, you just can’t believe the combination of styles and techniques he infuses into his tele-playing. It’s incredible.” 

In 2000, Redd moved to The Live Music Capital of the World, Austin, Texas, where he held a long-time residency at the Continental Club as the 'Guitar King', playing with Heybale! while also continuing to tour extensively with Haggard as well as his own band, in between tours.

Surprising the music world with a move to Galax, Virginia, in 2020 he began recording and giving Skype lessons for a year and a half during Covid. In May 2021, he went back to traveling in the US and abroad, as well as leading an all-star country trio every Thursday at the Floyd Country Store, in Floyd, VA  - his honky tonk home-away-from-home. 

Why did you move from Austin? 

“For me it's just time for a change and a new chapter. I’ve been in Austin 20 years, longer than anywhere I’ve ever lived, so it's time to move along. Austin has been an awesome place for music and people. After all, it's where I met my wonderful wife.” 

What inspired the move to Virginia’s rural mountains in particular? 

“I remembered touring through there in the ’80s and being amazed by how beautiful and green everything was, and how kind and sincere the people seemed to be,” says Volkaert. “I mentioned it to Kathleen, and next thing you know, we’d hopped on a plane and rented a car to check it out. After spending most of my life living in cities, tour buses, and hotel rooms, it’s the most incredible thing to wake up every day to all this nature. I can’t get enough of it.”

Were people surprised at the move?

“Some people thought I’d lost my marbles, but after 45 years of relentless gigs and cross-country tours, my wife and I decided it was time to slow things down a bit and focus on ourselves and spending time with our dogs, horses, and miniature donkeys.”  

Do you have any intention of retiring?

“What can I say? I’m nuts about the guitar and have been all my life. For good or ill, I don’t see that ever changing. I’m as crazy about it now as I was when I started at age 13. I figure when I die they’ll probably have to pry one out of my hands.”

What does the future bring? 

“I still look forward to traveling the road with my regular music folks. Also making new friends and getting to play with some of the great musicians in Virginia.”

Redd can often be found on stage in the company of his fellow Telecaster stalwart Bill Kirchen formerly of Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen. Together they are often referred to as the "Titans of the Telecaster" for their ability, notoriety and connection with that instrument. 

In addition to anchoring the honky tonk scene at the Floyd Country Store, Redd performs with singer/songwriter Dallas Wayne, plays dates with his own band, travels with the Ft Worth based Western swing trio, The Western Flyers, books regular tours in Australia and the occasional trip back to Texas, makes guitar show appearances, teaches workshops and guitar clinics, plays on recording sessions, and is a sought after instructor thru private Skype lessons, as well as his ‘TrueFire' video lesson courses

Best known as a Fender Telecaster player, with a personal collection that includes a 1953 Fender Telecaster, a 1951 Fender Nocaster, a 1958 Fender Esquire to name a few.

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