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05/31/2009 Finally! Its been over six months Reddddddddddddddd!
Howdy and hello! It’s been quite a while since our last update, so get comfortable. This is going to take a while to catch you up. Honestly, not a whole lot of excitement happened at the end of 2008, so we’ll just skip to the good stuff. I mean, I could make stuff up and plug it in, that would be pretty darned entertaining, but, alas, the Volkaert censoring tends to remove some of my more creative outright lies. So, we’ll stick (mostly) to the facts, more or less, as I interpret them.

In December, Redd headed home for the holidays with his mum, and of course for a gig or two with his brother, Dick’s Uncle Chris. The Volkaert Boys even played a charity ball of sorts. Kind of a funny story- originally Dick’s Uncle Chris had the band booked for a show at the Aldergrove Legion Hall, with all proceeds from the door going to charity, but then Aldergrove got greedy. When their sister called the Legion to reserve a table for the family, she was told that they were all sold out and there were no seats, not even for the band’s mum. After a little investigating and an “anonymous” phone call, turns out that Aldergrove Legion sold out the whole place for a higher ticket price and were lining their own pockets on what was supposed to be a philanthropic event. So, Dick’s Uncle Chris canceled the gig there, made the Aldergrove Legion return everyone’s money, and the brothers played at the Whiterock Legion instead. That’ll teach ‘em to mess with the Volkaert clan. Better get mum a table or else! The rest of the visit was as drama-free as families can be, but eventually Redd really missed his kiddo. He said bye to mum and headed south.

After a tame New Years Eve with his little Dick, Redd played the first Chicken Shit Sunday of 2009 at Ginny’s Little Longhorn with Gary Claxton. He didn’t win. I guess the chicken just doesn’t like Redd either. Obviously, she doesn’t like me. I never win. But, I’ve been practicing speaking chicken and think I can get in on some action next time. Bingo!

In January, in between all of his regular gigs, Mr. V also played a few shows with Dale Watson, including going to Houston for a radio broadcast. He also joined the Rich Harney Band for a private party gig. And at the end of the month, it was time for Heybale’s first road trip of the year. The band loaded up the van and drove to Dallas for a great gig at the Son’s of Hermann Hall. But with all this gigging and traveling, Redd still made sure he was home on time since Cindy Cashdollar was making him do that P word. Practice. Whaa.

Guess all the practicing paid off, though. Cindy and Redd flew to San Diego to play at the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, CA on February 7. The show sold out, and the crowd loved them. And while they weren’t playing, they got to go check out the exhibit that brought Cindy there in the first place, the Magic & Mystery of Slide Guitar. The museum had about seven centuries of pro gear on display, with everything from the first gourd instrument with one string to modern pedal steels. All-in-all it was a good night, and Cindy and Redd were treated like kings. Or queens. Or one of each. And well they should, considering the news that our pal Redd got the next day.

While Volkaert and Cashdollar were on the airplane heading away from San Diego, big things were happening in Los Angeles. When Redd turned his phone on after they landed in Austin, he had a text message telling him that he’d won a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance for all those hot licks he contributed to Brad Paisley’s song Cluster Pluck. Yep, that’s right, folks, Redd Volkaert shall from henceforth be known as Grammy Award Winning Artist Redd Volkaert. Nice. But, GAWA Redd Volkaert wasn’t too full of himself that he didn’t show up for his regular Heybale gig at the Continental Club that night, although I think that may just have been so that he could hear Earl Pool Ball announce the good news from stage.

His ego started coming back to earth by February 22, when GAWA Redd Volkaert hooked up again with his good luck charm Cindy Cashdollar for a good cause at Scholz’ Bier Garten, a benefit for Artz Rib House. It was a full day of music with the likes of Ephraim Owens and Slaid Cleaves all opening for the Redd and Cindy show. I guess the fundraiser was a success because Artz is back open and kickin,’ fancy new sign and all.

A few days later, Heybale made their second road trip of the year to play Blanco’s in Houston. And then March 1, Redd didn’t really have to drive anywhere to play. Some fans of the Redd Volkaert Band and regulars from the Shoal Creek days, Polly and Mike got hitched in Kyle, TX, and the RVB played the reception. Always good to make friends with your local firemen, just in case Dick chases a cat up a tree someday.

Another cause for celebration was March 6, with the birthday party of Grammy Award Winning Artist Redd Volkaert. Looking for some good Mexican food, The Redd Volkaert Band and a few hangers-on hit up Fonda San Miguel. Much to Redd’s chagrin, you can’t get a 7 Layer Burrito there, but the grub was pretty good anyway. Noticeably absent from the revelry was one Alan Durham, still holding a grudge since Redd skipped Alan’s birthday party at Fonda San Miguel a few years back. He didn’t even send a gift. But, Redd raked ‘em in. The band thought that it was pretty sad for a musician to be driving around without any music, so Chris picked out a pretty impressive stereo system for Redd to install in one of his cars. Finally he’s got some tunes in the Corvette, although the Valiant still has a gaping hole where the radio used to be, the old radio couldn’t be heard anyway with all that noise and rattling from the motor, headers and howling rearend.

On March 10 Mr. V flew out to California again, although not to pick up his Grammy (which they claimed was being shipped). The lovely folks at Headstock Productions, who brought you StratMasters, the documentary that tells the story of the Stratocaster, are working on a new film all about Telecasters. You can’t have a film about Telecasters without talking to Redd, so they flew him out to Santa Barbara. Redd spent the day with Seymour Duncan and Jerry Donahue, being interviewed and filmed, talking a load about Teles and how cool they are and how they make friends easily, you know, normal guitar geek stuff. The guys also jammed a little. Sounds like a pretty cool time, if you are into that guitar geek thing.

The next day they headed to Corona, CA, to hang out with Richard Smith, curator extraordinaire, at the Fender Museum. Richard is a vintage Fender know-it-all, a long-time friend of Leo Fender and his family, and a nice guy to boot. They did a little pickin’ there at the museum and looked around at all the cool stuff there, including Roy Buchanan’s Tele. They also chatted up Mac Yosuda, who is pretty much the biggest Japanese collector of vintage guitar and author of multiple vintage guitar books. The film sounds like it will be great, and includes interviews with other usual suspects in the Tele world, like James Burton and Albert Lee. Kudos to Mr. Volkaert for being included in that pile! That’s as cool as being included a couple of years ago, in the “Blackguard Book” an exclusive vintage guitar book about Fender guitars from 49’-54’

Back to reality and regular gigging in Austin, Redd’s normal routine got a little mix up with a private party in Fredericksburg where he played with Will Sexton and Bill Carter, and then the descent of South by Southwest on the little town of Austin. There were no major happenings for Volkaert’s indie label. Our buddy is still the only artist signed to Telehog. After the end of the three gigs a day fun, Mr. Volkaert took a little time for himself and hit up the vintage guitar show at the Austin Convention Center on the last Sunday of SxSW. You’d think he’d seen enough of dirty old beat-up guitars in California with all those Fender guys, but apparently not. Word is that the vintage show was really nice, and a huge improvement over previous Austin guitar shows at the Crocket Center. Oh, they had some dirty old worn out records there, too.

On Friday, April 3, the Heybale band hooked a wedding gig at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, which is always pretty after dark. And then, the next day, the Redd Volkaert Band kicked off the Kyle Market Days season with a stellar gig in front of the Kyle Visitors Center. Market Days, the first Saturday of every month from April to October, is quite the big event in Kyle, TX. If you are in the area, you should stop by. Maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of Grammy Award Winning Artist Redd Volkaert and his small furry son, Dick.

At 8:30 AM on April 17, The Redd Volkaert Band, Redd, Nate and Chris, plus guitar tech/roadie/morale-booster Alan Durham, all walked off an airplane at O’Hare. Yes, you read correctly, they arrived in Chicago at 8:30 AM. Which means they had to be at the airport in Austin at 5:00 AM. I’m so glad I wasn’t on that flight. So, a little tired and grumpy, the band put themselves into the capable hands of Scott Judd to get them where they needed to be. And, unfortunately, to bail them out of a bad situation. The band was scheduled to play Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn, IL, that night, and when they showed up at the club they hit a little snag. Somehow, SOMEBODY missed a beat and didn’t let the club know that they needed backline for the band to play. The opening band had a piano, upright bass and guitar, no drums, so it’s not like they could borrow the opener’s gear. So, Scott saved the day, and in the blink of an eye got a drum kit and bass & guitar amps from his own bands rehearsal studio for the guys to use. So the show went on, the crowd roared, and they even had a few dancers.

After getting to sleep in a little bit later on Saturday, the boys headed over to the Old Town School of Folk Music for a full day of fun. First, Redd educated a whopping forty students in a guitar clinic. Teles in hand, the folks came in to do a little pickin’ with Redd and maybe learn a thing or two. All went well, and the folks left happy and maybe slightly more mystified. Then, after a pile of barbecue and a small break, the Redd Volkaert Band kicked off the tunes for Old Town School’s Blue Jean Gala. The boys did a great job, entertained the crowd, and got the stage warmed up for the next act, none other than the legendary Loretta Lynn. Big hair, poofy sleeves, and head-to-toe purple sparkles, Miss Lynn sang all the hits and did her best despite a touch of tonsillitis. It was a lovely night and grand gala for a good cause.

Sunday morning, the foursome had to get up again before the sun and make it to O’Hare for their 8:00 AM flight. Who books these things? But, it worked out okay since it got Redd back to Austin in time to play two gigs. The first was with Heybale at a birthday party for James White, owner of the Broken Spoke, out at the White’s ranch. All the usual suspects were there, including Alvin Crow and James Hand, and it turned into one big jam session. Then back to the comfort of home at the Continental Club for the regular Sunday night Heybale party.

Then Redd stepped out of his comfort zone for a party on April 23. As part of a house concert series for Brewster McCracken’s valiant effort to get lazy musicians to vote in the Austin mayoral campaign, Tele-pickin’ Redd plugged in his Strat to jam with the Everydudes. For a full night of rock and roll only, Redd seemed to have a good time shredding on the Strat in Will Bown’s living room. Charlie the dog was the band’s biggest fan.

After playing a beautiful wedding gig at Hamilton Pool the next day, the Redd Volkaert Band jumped on a plane again, this time to Santa Barbara to spend a whopping 18 hours before jumping back on a plane home. It was worth it though. The gig on April 25 at the Lobero Theater was part of the “Sings Like Hell” series, so they did. The show was well attended by pretty much the whole staff of the Seymour Duncan Company, including the man himself, and Mr. Duncan actually got on stage and jammed with the band a bit, too. Fun fun fun. (Redd says he’s a Roy Buchanan playin’ S.O.B)

Back in Austin, the beginning of May involved a whole bunch of visits to the doctor for our pal Redd. Not to worry, nothing is wrong, but Mr. V got a new doctor and had to make a few trips so that the new guy can milk the insurance company and tell Redd in person that his check-up was all good. That’s always nervy fun.

Then on May 9, Redd did his best Buzz Evans impersonation with Bo Porter and his band, including Billy Dee on bass (reunited and it feels so good…) Buzz had made a visit back to the old Vegas stomping grounds, and Redd tried his best to fill in all the steel licks.

Then it was off to Pueblo, CO for the Buckaroo Ball on May 13. Redd played with Monty Mills & the Lucky Horseshoe Band at the big soiree that kicks off the Wild Wild West Fest. Mills lives in San Luis Obispo, CA, and he and Volkaert have been friends for years. Redd played on two of his records, good old western swing, that Mills recorded when he wasn’t working at his day job as a farrier.

One day back home and then off to another festival, this time in Ohio. Heybale played in Nelsonville, OH, at the Nelsonville Music Festival (formerly the HockHocking Festival). While hanging around the tents Redd ran into star of recent news Wayne “The Train,” who was also playing the festival. Wayne performed just before Heybale, and Heybale opened up for Willie Nelson. Quite the line-up! I think I’d have been camped out in front of that stage all day for sure.

Schulenburg, TX is going to have a new venue for Redd Volkaert and any and all bands that he picks with. On May 20 they had an afternoon party to celebrate the reopening of the Sengelmann Dance Hall in June, and then he hustled back to Austin where the Redd Volkaert Band and Cindy Cashdollar rocked the Scholz’ Bier Garten again. They had a great big crowd, not too many clams, (its mostly a meat place) and a good time was had by all.

Then along comes Memorial Day. To honor brave Americans that fought for our freedoms, the natural choice seemed to play softball. Yet again, Fearless Band-Leader Chris Gilson stepped up to the plate. He organized a day at the ballpark, complete with heckling, trash-talking, and marginal umpiring by Grammy Award Winning Artist Redd Volkaert. Unfortunately, since Redd decided that he’d rather sit in the shade, no one seemed to realize that he was the umpire and they ignored all of his calls. Except for all the cute girls that could never strike out. But, no one got hurt, and Gilson’s hard work paid off. It was a ball! Redd called a hunert of em’

And now, it’s almost time for Heybale’s annual trek to the bright lights big city. It’s the 3rd anniversary of Hill Country BBQ in Manhattans Flat Iron district.

Other little tidbits of late- Redd got a fancy new guitar, a Collings D2H acoustic that he can use for the acoustic duo he does sometimes with Big John Mills at Billy’s Icehouse in New Braunfels. It’s a lovely looking ax that sounds good too. And, finally, the Grammy showed up! The awards were in February, but after making Volkaert sign an agreement that he wouldn’t misuse or abuse or hock the statue, they finally got around to shipping the darned thing. It’s about time. Redd’s door has been swinging shut for months now waiting for a good heavy doorstop. And, try though he might, our pal still hasn’t managed to shed one of his cars. He claims he hadn’t had any offers, but I think he’s saving one for when Dick finally gets his driver license.

Well, I think that is more than enough yapping for now. I’ll try to stay a bit more up to date with these tall tales so maybe the next one won’t be so long, but Grammy winners seem to be really busy and hard to keep up with. Guess I’ll just need my exercise my wings a bit and fly faster.

Until next time,

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