Pennsylvania Ave (Sep 2012)
Reckless Kelly is thrilled to announce the arrival of some new music! We have just released our first ever single, "Pennsylvania Avenue," and B-side, "Back in The U.S.A," available now on iTunes, and Amazon.com. A limited edition CD is also available now at recklesskelly.com and a collector's edition 7" vinyl will follow in October!
The single, "Pennsylvania Avenue" takes a look at at American Presidents from the past, present and future with overtones of separating red and blue politics from common sense and going with your gut when choosing the next commander in chief. It's about standing in the middle of the road and looking both ways. It's about asking questions and speaking up, both before and after election day. It's about Freedom of speech. It's about the great leaders who have gone to bat for their country when everything was on the line. It's about the future of the country we love.
The B side, Chuck Berry's "Back in the U.S.A." is our version of a classic song that talks about the good ol' days and what we all love about America! Chuck said it best, "I'm so glad to be livin' in the U.S.A.!"
We hope you all enjoy the new music and maybe even find some inspiration to go out and vote on Tuesday, November 6th. Like Grandpa used to say, "if you don't vote, don't bitch." This is your election. This is your country. This is your next president.
RK for USA!
Good Luck & True Love (Sep 2011)
For fifteen years Reckless Kelly has been doing things their way, bucking the mainstream system and playing by their own rules, straddling the fence between country and rock as if they built it themselves. Throughout the years their old school approach to recording has always adhered to one main objective: make each record better than the last. Their latest effort, "Good Luck & True Love" is no exception to this rule. The September 2011 release has earned a Grammy nomination (Best Recording Package), three No. 1 singles on Texas Radio, and four Lone Star Music Awards.
Recorded in an old farmhouse-turned studio in Austin Texas, and released on the bands new independent label "No Big Deal Records," "Good Luck & True Love" is pure, driving, uncut Reckless Kelly. The songs are all written or co-written by front man Willy Braun and range in subject matter from road songs, ("Weatherbeaten Soul," "Hit The Ground Running") to songs about music, ("New Moon Over Nashville," "I Stayed Up All Night Again") and songs about good old-fashioned heartbreak ("Guarded Heart," "She Likes Money, He Likes Love," and "I Never Liked St. Valentine"). The album is the 9th in RK's ever-growing catalogue and is the 3rd they have produced by themselves.
The Reckless boys also made it a point to track almost all of it live. Just 5 guys sitting in a room playing music, with minimal overdubs and aside from a harmony vocal from Dani Flowers, the band plays each and every instrument and part. "We wanted to make a record that sounded like we sound live, without any extra parts thrown in. We wanted it to sound like a band," said fiddle/mandolin player Cody Braun. "Keeping it all in the same space and making sure it was an album rather than just a collection of songs was the main goal, and I think we came pretty close to what we set out to do...there's a lot of continuity within this project." The result is an album that encompasses the last 15 years of Reckless Kelly. Ten new songs that capture the essence of a road worn and battle scarred band of brothers that aren't afraid to take risks and tell it like it is. That's country rock. That’s old school. That's Reckless Kelly.
Willy Braun - Vocals and Guitar
Cody Braun - mandolin, Fiddle
Jay Nazz - Drums
David Abeyta - Guitar
Joe Miller - Bass
Pennsylvania Avenue (2012), Good Luck & True Love (2011), Somewhere In Time (2009), Bulletproof (July 2008), Reckless Kelly Was Here (2006), Wicked Twisted Road (2005), Under The Table And Above The Sun (2003), The Day (2000), Acoustic: Live at Stubbs (2000), Millican (1997)
Red, White, & Reckless Kelly
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An odd calm settles over the infield of the Houston Astros' Minute Maid Park. The low roar of last F...An odd calm settles over the infield of the Houston Astros' Minute Maid Park. The low roar of last Friday's sellout – 42,000 – recedes into white noise, absorbed in the manicured grass and infield dirt.
Reckless Kelly's Willy and Cody Braun and David Abeyta take a stand in front of the visiting dugout, the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox staring out at the trio as the stadium stills. Eyes closed, Cody sets his familiar black cowboy hat across his chest and harmonizes with his brother into the first bars of the national anthem.
Opening baseball games has become a favorite byproduct of Reckless Kelly's success. The Austinites hold sports a close second to their passion for music, baseball being chief among them. On the field prior to the game, watching batting practice, the guys are as wide-eyed as the kids trying to score autographs from Manny Ramirez.
"This never gets old," says Abeyta with a sense of wonder.
Over the past decade, Reckless Kelly has risen into the major league of Texas artists behind its brazen roots rock, big guitars pitched into infectious melodies and ripped with fiddle. With Bulletproof, the band's debut for power indie imprint Yep Roc Records, the local quintet stands on deck for a national breakthrough.
Tonight, as the trio rounds third base on their rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner," Willy thrusts a fist in the air at "land of the free." The stadium swells in a single emptying of its lungs, applause climaxing against the closed dome. Play ball.
Willy Braun steps casually through the back door of Fifth Street's Lucky Lounge, the sudden glint of afternoon sunlight slicing into the barroom darkness. He slides his sunglasses up onto his Red Sox ball cap, eyes blinking as they adjust, and takes a stool at the bar. The bartender greets him by name as she passes him a bottle of Corona. The constant click of dominoes keeps time from the corner table.
As he waits for his brother, Willy sips the beer and watches Tiger Woods mount another impossible comeback at the U.S. Open. Against doctors' orders, Woods walks his 90th hole, one shot down to unlikely contender Rocco Mediate. Cody comes into the bar just as Woods sinks 18 for the birdie and tie, pushing the round to one more hole and his eventual win in possibly the greatest tournament ever played. Indomitable. Bulletproof.
There's nothing spectacular or flashy about the Braun boys. They both carry athletic builds that have settled solidly into adulthood and an easygoing attitude of all-American, good ol' boy charm. Cody, one year older at 31, strikes a slightly more mature poise, but when the two begin bantering back and forth and finishing each other's sentences, the kinship couldn't be clearer.
"There's always brotherly battles out there," laughs Willy. "We get into our fights every once in a while, but it's always something stupid, and it's always fine the next day. I think, overall, we've learned to ignore each other when we have to and to choose your battles. We've never really punched each other or anything."
"No fistfights yet," smiles Cody.
"Just a couple of good ol' fashioned fuck yous!" Willy jabs back.
Nowhere is the brotherly chemistry more apparent than in their music. Cody's fiddle and electric mandolin cut perfectly into the rough grain of Willy's voice, the product of playing together their entire lives. Raised in the small Central Idaho town of Challis, the entire Braun clan was a musical culmination. Grandfather Musty Braun passed his musical career to their father, who made Muzzie Braun & the Boys a family affair. Cody was sawing fiddle in the Western swing band by age 7, with Willy singing along by 5, performing at the Grand Ole Opry and on The Tonight Show. Younger brothers Micky and Gary, now of Austin's Micky & the Motorcars, followed suit.
"Our mother's the only person in the family that didn't play anything," admits Willy.
"Yeah," Cody adds with a chuckle. "She was a damn good road manager, though."
Cody and Willy began shaping Reckless Kelly in their teens, bending their father's country sound into their own rock inspirations. After a futile stint in Bend, Ore., the quintet found a complementary scene to their music and moved to Austin in 1997. Abeyta soon added his guitar fireworks to the lineup, and Jimmy McFeeley brought his bass grooves to bear on Jay Nazz's ferocious drums.
"Coming down here and being in the clubs and all the college kids and that kind of party scene helped amplify everything," Cody says. "The live show really came around to a real party atmosphere and just having fun and getting people to whoop it up. We were getting a percentage of the bar for a while at Lucy's, so we encouraged the shots quite a bit."
Say Hey: Cody and Willy Braun and David Abeyta, June 29, 2008, Red Sox 6, Astros 1
Photo by Doug Freeman
From the opening guitar lick of their acclaimed 1998 debut, Millican, Reckless Kelly has shot its twang through with raucous energy and pop hooks, earning the group four Austin Music Awards for Best Roots Rock act. Beneath the hard-drinkin', hell-raisin', road-runnin' anthems, Willy's songwriting bites with a bittersweet restlessness that matches his gravel-ripped voice. Songs such as "Desolation Angels" from 2003's Under the Table & Above the Sun and "Dogtown" on 2005's Wicked Twisted Road unfold poetic narratives pushing against an understated, universal desperation. Bulletproof maintains those classic Reckless Kelly elements but raises the bar in both substance and style. It's their most accomplished effort, yet even before its release last week, the album had brewed a storm of controversy among fans.
"I just want to say thank you for your support for us over here ... having good red dirt music here is all that keeps me sane," writes Pfc. Jake Marlin on the Reckless Soldiers message board that the band created for soldiers and their families. The sentiment is echoed across the site.
When Reckless Kelly began streaming "American Blood," the tale of a young wounded soldier's homecoming from Iraq and condemnation of the government that sent him there, the Braun brothers knew the backlash was inevitable. While the band remains a fixture at military-base benefits and accompanied the release of the song with a statement reasserting its support of the troops, debate sparked almost instantly on the group's forums and MySpace page.
"If there's a bad review or a critic that doesn't like us, we wouldn't normally issue a statement or anything," Willy says. "But when it's coming from fans and families of people in the military who aren't really expecting it out of us, the last thing we want them to think is that we don't support them or understand what they're going through.
"The people that are talking about it in a negative way are veterans or soldiers that feel like if you're not supporting the president, the commander in chief, and the mission at hand, that you're slapping them in the face, which isn't the case as far as we're concerned. We're just doing the good ol' American freedom of speech thing, but we can totally understand their position on it."
The response that "American Blood" has sparked is testament to the power and unavoidably raw emotions provoked by the song. Atop a thick, steady guitar riff approximating helicopter blades, Willy's voice spits the harsh vitriol of Steve Earle, "Copperhead Road" 2.0, as he howls the closing verse:
Now Johnny can drink all day 'cause he's 23.
He donated his legs to the worldwide land of the free.
He cries, "God bless America, but goddamn Uncle Sam,"
While he stares through the tears with American blood on his hands.
The unexpected political turn has drawn fire from some of the band's fans, the shock exacerbated by the fact that its fan base leans as conservative as it does liberal. The song explicitly castigates President Bush ("He sits at home with his feet on his desk while the boys got theirs in the sand"), a bold statement considering that the band played for both of his inaugurations.
The sting of spite in "American Blood" is balanced on Bulletproof by the wrenching disillusion of "God Forsaken Town." The Hurricane Katrina ballad, co-written with Robert Earl Keen, draws across the other side of desperation. For a band whose reputation was built on highway odes and beer-raising heartache, both songs carry a weight that signals Reckless Kelly's maturing to an impressive new point in the band's career.
The songs also reflect the charged and changing attitudes of contemporary America, of a society suddenly forced to reluctantly face political realities. Bulletproof embodies the zeitgeist of our culture that would rather keep drinking, rather keep running, but can no longer ignore the consequences, regardless of political position.
It's a recognition that just a few years ago mainstream audiences refused to accept, evidenced by the blacklisting of the Dixie Chicks across country radio. Yet as the toll of war has begun to return home, it's impossible to separate these issues from our personal lives. If part of Reckless Kelly's popularity springs from the genuine everyman appeal of its material, then "American Blood" and "God Forsaken Town" reassert the shared and relatable turmoil of the modern American experience.
"We don't really want to be known as a U2-type band. We're not political," emphasizes Willy. "I think the main thing is that we've caught people off guard just because we've never done anything like that before.
"I know that the last people I want to hear telling me their political opinions are Alec Baldwin or Bruce Springsteen, but those are also the people that can get a message out and get people talking about it. ... They may not know, or we may not know, anything about what's really going on over there, but we have a little bit of the public eye, so at least we can get people talking about it and forming their own opinions on it."
The guitars rumble like a diesel engine. The packed Antone's crowd roars in return as Reckless Kelly launches into its new, Woody Guthrie-inspired single, "Ragged as the Road." Bottles jut into the air, held aloft equally by college kids and graying fans who have followed the band since its Wednesday happy hours at Stubb's.
This is Reckless Kelly at its best, unfettered and fueled by the hometown audience. McFeeley and Abeyta bookend the stage with contrasting figures, the former steady as his bass bores holes into the latter's sizzling guitar solos, dug out from under his hunched-over frame. Clad in black, Cody dwarfs his mandolin and carries the harmonies while Willy slings his acoustic guitar and rouses the crowd.
Braun patriarch Muzzie joins his boys onstage to trade verses on the Irish stomp "Seven Nights in Eire," grinning beneath his ball cap with drink in hand. A gypsy-outfitted Micky Braun steps up to take the mic on "Nobody's Girl." Family reunions rarely meet this much approval.
Individually, there's little that would seem to distinguish any of the five members from their fans, just normal guys humbled to be making music for a living. Yet onstage, Reckless Kelly is another force altogether, as charismatic and potent as its namesake, the soundtrack for driving hard and fast down American back roads, with the radio turned up and the throttle thrown down, unflinching and fearless. Indomitable. Bulletproof.
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Reckless Kelly’s long-awaited fifth studio album, Bulletproof, set to hits the shelves June 24th an...Reckless Kelly’s long-awaited fifth studio album, Bulletproof, set to hits the shelves June 24th and is loud and proud. Following suit of the 2006 release Reckless Kelly Was Here, a double disc live recording CD/DVD, Bulletproof delivers and delivers hard. The band, which formed more than 11 years ago in Bend, Oregon eventually moved their base of operation to Austin, TX where they have taken an ever-growing fan base by storm. Playing shows all over the Lone Star Sate and its surrounding areas, and more recently, the “windy city,” New York, and even Nashville, these five guys have begun what many would call a legacy that began long before they were born.
Bulletproof, recorded at Willie Nelson’s famed Pedernales Studios just outside of Austin on Lake Travis is a collection of ragged road songs, a few ballads and two epic tributes. The album produced under the band’s new record label Yep Roc Records consists of 14 tracks, all written or co-written by lead singer and guitarist Willy Braun, and boasts guest musicians including Lloyd Maines, Ephraim Owens, Brian Standefer and Micheal Ramos. The five guys of Reckless Kelly, Willy Braun and brother Cody Braun, David Abeyta, Jay Nazz and Jimmy McFeely have come together to produce what is arguably their most impressive record to date.
Kicking things off is a rocking road tune, which is already getting a lot of radio time. “Ragged as the Road” as it is aptly titled, is a culmination of energy, guitars and descriptive lyrics which leaves you feeling the heat of the “black-top gravel” and the glow of the “faded moonlight” and seems to describe the place the band is in now. A rocking rhythm and vivid imagery make this one of the best tracks on the record. “ A Guy Like Me” and “Love in her Eye” carry on the revved up vibe of the first track. The catchy rhythm and edgy feel of “a Guy Like Me” creates the image of a bad boy attitude and a great guitar riff in the middle of “Love in her Eye” make these two potential singles for the record.
The two most captivating tracks on the record, “American Blood” and “God Forsaken Town” illuminate the reality of the roughest times in this life. There is no mistaking the message of “American Blood” with lyrics like “Johnny can’t drink cause Johnny ain’t 21/but he’s 18 and he’s pretty handy with a gun/they sent him off to a foreign land, gave him a new pair of boots and 13 grand/and he came back home with American blood on his hands.” The song has an incredible message and a very Bruce Springsteen kind of power to it. “God Forsaken Town” co-written by Willy Braun and long-time friend Robert Earl Keen is a tribute to the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. The song has a heart-breaking feel to it, yet shines light on the power that we can find within our depths. “I’ll be goddamned if I’m leaving here before the day I die,” and “we’ve got a sawed off and a red hot 44/so all you looters best come heavy when you’re knocking on my door!” show that imagery of inner strength. A heart-wrenching chorus alluding to an allegorical “higher ground” and a beautiful trumpet provided by Ephriam Owens make this song amazing, if very hard to listen to.
Two love songs on the record, “Don’t Say Goodbye,” and “Passin’ Through” were co-written with Micky Braun, brother and lead singer of Micky and the Motorcars. “Passin’ Through” starts as a ballad, then cranks in a rocking rhythm that has a very “windows down, rolling down the black-top” sort feel to it. “One False Move,” another tribute to love was co-written with Dustin Welch, son of singer-songwriter Kevin Welch.
The title track for the record, “Bulletproof” is a tribute to 1870s Australian gangster and namesake of the band, Ned “Reckless Kelly.” It lays stake to the claim that nothing is ever “bulletproof,” but as they say, life goes on.
Bulletproof shows the guys of Reckless Kelly at their most musically mature and is sure to be a musical library staple. The guys deliver excellent lyrics, heart-engaging melodies, and as always the signature fiddle, provide by incredible musical talent of Cody Braun. It is rough and rugged and will leave you listening over and over again.
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Whether or not Reckless Kelly lives up to the madcap bravado the band name claims has always depende...Whether or not Reckless Kelly lives up to the madcap bravado the band name claims has always depended in part on how one defines “reckless”. The Austin-based band rarely ventures beyond the boundaries of its straightforward, hard-driving country rock genre, but the sheer confidence of the swagger with which they deliver their songs of liquor and women and the road gives the impression that this is a band who enjoys pushing well above the speed limit. This holds true for the band’s latest, Bulletproof (its first recording for Yep Roc Records, following a fruitful tenure with Sugar Hill), a uniformly solid collection of songs that won’t change anyone’s notion of what country rock sounds like, but whose rowdy, raw energy continues to contain a surge of adrenaline.
This is a band with no pretensions to anything but rocking hard enough to kick up dust, and they are clearly have the skills to do so. Lead singer Willy Braun announces the record’s itinerary in its first lines: “This road I’m on is blacktop and gravel / It’s a faded blue line”. Later in that same stanza, Braun acknowledges that “it’s a well worn path”, but declares himself to be unapologetically “ragged as the road I’m on”. The song, “Ragged as the Road”, was written as a tribute to Woody Guthrie, but it also serves as the band’s aesthetic template. “It’s steel wheels turnin’ on steel rails singin’”, Braun sings over a train-chugging rhythm and lead guitarist David Abeyta’s distorted guitar chords, further textured by brother Cody Braun’s mandolin. “Steel wheels turning on steel rails singing” is a good metaphor for the band’s sound—propulsive and churning and filling up the wide, clear spaces it passes through.
Musically, the rest of the album makes no great departures from the twanging, churning opener. Though the record occasionally takes a respite in waltzing ballads like “I Never Had a Chance”, its heart is clearly in its guitar distortion. The most straightforwardly earnest love song on the album, “Love in Her Eyes”, is primarily notable for a guitar solo that wouldn’t sound terribly out of place inserted in the middle of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl”. But the focus on buzzing guitar chords doesn’t mean the album is musically simple. In its better moments, the band follows its country road out to further pastures, as when they complement their guitar fuzz with sprinting Celtic fiddle lines. The bridge of “Passing Through”, for example, has the fiddle and guitar chasing off after one another, as they do on the high-lonesome standout “Mirage”. Prolific pedal steel player Lloyd Maines shows up as well, and his work, along with the organs and strings provided by the band, gives the songs a pleasing sonic depth beneath the bar hall raucousness.
At other points, though, the band reaches out towards a more punk edge—with their swagger and alt-country leanings, it would be a natural edge for the band to find—but stumbles. “A Guy Like Me”, the band’s slightly too self-conscious outing of themselves as “bad boys”, begins with a bass riff and thudding percussion that sounds a bit too much like Green Day’s “Holiday”. Additionally, lyrically the album isn’t quite as full of “death defying songs for looters and thieves” as the cover art advertises. Most of the songs aren’t quite that dangerous—they tell a more traditional story of the rough-hewn traveling man who can’t stay in town long enough to make good for the sweet girl he falls for anyway. About eight of the fourteen songs fall somewhere into this narrative arc, and while Braun’s vocal performance and the band’s musicianship are strong and rough enough to keep the edges of the songs sharp, none really pop to the front of the pack.
It’s the rare lyricist who is more interesting and less predictable when on a political bent, however, and it is on Bulletproof’s foray into protest music that Braun’s songs really warrant attention. Reckless Kelly has heretofore stayed away from politics, but midway through this album, Braun’s emotion, unfiltered by irony or pretense, turns abruptly from yearning and restlessness to anger:
Johnny can’t drink ‘cause Johnny’s not twenty-one
But he’s eighteen and pretty handy with a gun
They shipped him off to a foreign land
Gave him a new pair of boots and thirteen grand
And he came back home
With American blood on his hands.
Johnny is an American archetype, but George, “American Blood”’s other character, is quite specific. And in verse after verse, as Braun contrasts Johnny’s story to George’s, it is very clear where Braun rests the blame for Johnny’s tragedy. The song is direct and the frustration is taut, and the raw anger of the song has been drawing attention (the band has also set up a section of their site devoted to fans’ dedications to those in military service). But the song is also refreshing in the clear line that Braun draws between anger at the United States and anger at the United States government. “God bless America, but God damn Uncle Sam”, Johnny rails after losing his legs, and the song is clear evidence (if any was needed) that patriotism and sharp criticism of American government policy is far from mutually exclusive. “Black gold for silver stars”, Braun sings, “Cold hard cash for armored cars / The brass ain’t fighting / But they’re sure as hell taking a stand / And they’ll have to live with American blood on their hands”. The song damns the war most for its destruction of American lives, and for the strangeness of sending boys deemed far too young to moderate their alcohol consumption to war and keeping them there long enough to grow old enough to drink their pain away.
Likewise, “God Forsaken Town”, Braun’s narrative of Hurricane Katrina, co-written with Robert Earl Keen, paints a portrait of life in the flood that is so literal that it’s almost absurdist (“There’s children in the treetops and soldiers in the sky”). The narrator’s moment-to-moment perspective shifts as the floodwaters rise and recede, but the narrator’s resignation to his fate (“Let the storm and all its fury come and carry me away / Take me to that place somewhere on higher ground”) underscores Braun’s melancholy.
In their frustration and anger, Reckless Kelly are keeping in the tradition of a long line of populist anger emanating from the most grassroots of the country tradition, and more generally, it’s in that tradition that the band seems happy to stay. They’re conformists to an outlaw tradition, and they seem content to fill the well-worn niche of the knockabout life. The band might still not yet be reckless enough to knock down the walls of that niche, but their devotion to the ruffians of the road can still generate music that’s satisfyingly rough around the edges.
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WOW! That's about the only thing I can say about Reckless Kelly. They're Country, Rock, Rockabilly...WOW! That's about the only thing I can say about Reckless Kelly. They're Country, Rock, Rockabilly, and anything in between. Actually, you may just classify them as "original." Hearing each song brings fourth a special feeling. These guys are as different as the "Outlaws" of Country Music, but just as good. The band consists of Willy Braun (Guitar), Cody Braun (Fiddle, Mandolin, Harmonica), David Abeyta (Lead Guitar), Jay Nazz (Drums), and Jimmy McFeeley (Bass). Thankfully, they're not compromising their music for the sake of mainstream radio. They display complete originality and I respect them so much more for it. Once you listen to them, you will too.
The first song on this record is great. From the second it started playing, I was hooked and the music in the background is awesome. It's full of great instrumentals and the words are priceless. We all are in this world together, but sometimes, we feel like we are completely different than everyone else. One thing is for sure, some people go through a lot more than anyone else, and that's what this song is about. It is easy to picture these guys performing this in a small bar or a stadium and the crowd going crazy.
"You Don't Have To Stay Forever" is not about a typical one night stand. The character's ex-girlfriend is back in town and no one felt they should tell him. So, he ends up running in to her and one thing leads to another. This is a great song. The end is left open so you can fill in the blanks, but it's great regardless of how you end it.
"I Never Had A Chance," "One False Move," and "A Guy Like Me" are great tunes that continue along the same road as the first few tracks. These are hard hitting lyrics that are full of life, love, and anything in between.
One song that stands out is "How Was California?" It's great. The character is asking his ex-girlfriend how her trip was. Apparently, it is one of those situations where she "needed space." Again, the lyrics get right to the point and paint a perfect portrait.
After listening to this entire album, word for word, I tried to find a song that was not good, or just didn't stand out like the rest of them. That one song is "God Forsaken Town." Funny thing is, this song is not bad, but it just doesn't stand out like the rest. Every other tune is bold, powerful, and true. This one just can't hang with the rest of them, but it's good in its own right.
Wrapping it up is the title track. This song should be on everyone's IPod's, MP3 Players, and any other kind of recording device. This may be the best tune on the album, but there are so many songs on here that are great, we will call it a draw. Sometimes people think their lives and relationships are invincible. No matter what happens their love will out last anything. Well, that's exactly the case in this song, and the outcome is not good.
Folks, out of all the albums that have came out in 2008, this one needs to be in your collection. If you like music that's "in your face," up front and personal, this is it. Do yourself a favor and check out Reckless Kelly's new album "Bulletproof."
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The best CD I have heard so far this year is Reckless Kelly’s “Bulletproof.” What? Who? Reckle...
The best CD I have heard so far this year is Reckless Kelly’s “Bulletproof.” What? Who? Reckless Kelly, mostly from Idaho but based in the real music capital of America, Austin, Texas. These guys are good and they work hard too.And you know a President has pretty much hit rock bottom when a cowboy band from Texas nails you. “American Blood” is the Born in the USA for George’s little personal adventure in Iraq. It is devastating.”Now George is up on a boat, proudly waving the flag. He says the hard part is over and we knew it wouldn’t be so bad. But roadside bombs and six long years were never really part of the plan. What’s a couple of thousand more with American blood on their hands.”
That pretty much cuts to the chase and this comes from a band that would rather just rock (Oh, and have a couple of Shiner Bock beers) than talk politics. This a terrific CD, 14 cuts and not a throw away in the bunch.
I saw these guys last summer at an old theater in Charlotte. I took my son Matt and his finance (hey, just get married will you Matt. You can’t do any better than Kai). I am pretty sure they just went to humor dad since I promised to cook them a turkey dinner. They loved it. Great crowd too. It seems the band has its only little nation of followers who try to catch as many shows as they can. I can see and hear why.
So go out and get Reckless Kelly’s “Bulletproof” and play it in the backyard on the 4th of July. Tell George Darth Vader to come over and join you.
Somewhere In Time Review
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RECKLESS KELLY Somewhere in Time Producer: Reckless Kelly Yep Roc Records Release Date: Feb. 9 ...RECKLESS KELLY
Somewhere in Time
Producer: Reckless Kelly
Yep Roc Records
Release Date: Feb. 9
It takes a certain amount of belief in one’s own abilities to attempt an album of covers, let alone a tribute to a musical hero. And it takes talent to actually pull it off. Meet Austin-based country-rock band Reckless Kelly—a group that has the chutzpah and chops to properly honor Idaho singer/songwriter Pinto Bennett, who with his band Famous Motel Cowboys influenced a generation of North-western musicians. Reckless Kelly’s latest album, “Somewhere in Time,” is made up of Bennett-penned tunes. (Bennett himself guests on two tracks.) Among the highlights is “The Ballad of Elano De Leon,” with a guest appearance by Joe Ely. The rollicking “Bird on a Wire” is perhaps the album’s best cut, mixing smart lyrics and sizzling guitar work, while honky-tonk “I’ve Done Everything I Could Do Wrong” will probably fill the floors in dance halls all across Texas.” – Ken Tucker
Somewhere In Time Review
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If Rascal Flatts is country music's clean cut, commercially palatable Beatles, then Reckless Kelly i...If Rascal Flatts is country music's clean cut, commercially palatable Beatles, then Reckless Kelly is the genre's Rolling Stones; grittier, more authentically influenced, rawer at the core even when their output is every bit as polished. The brainchild of Idaho brothers Willy and Cody Braun, Reckless Kelly was crowned Austin's Best Country Band in the city's 2008 music awards, an incredible honor considering the talent that inhabits every square foot of the Texas capital, where the Brauns have been based since 1997.
Since then, Reckless Kelly released five studio albums, two live sets, a greatest hits collection and recorded for four different labels, but it was 2008's "Bulletproof," their debut for Yep Roc, that proved to be the quintet's biggest success, nearly cracking the country chart's Top 20 and even hitting the middle of the pop charts. It probably hasn't hurt that they've made high profile and highly vocal fans like Joe Ely, Robert Earl Keen, Steve Earle and Kevin Welch along the way.
For their new album, Reckless Kelly takes on something of a concept project; "Somewhere in Time" is a tribute to Pinto Bennett, a renowned singer/songwriter and fellow Idahoan whose work had a big impact on the Brauns. Although on paper it might seem a risky proposition for Reckless Kelly to follow their commercial breakthrough with someone else's relatively obscure songs, Bennett's deeply felt cowboy songs of love lost and hard times fit the band like a tailored glove and they present them with the spirit and verve of their original material. “Little Blossom” kicks the album off with a Skynyrd-like fury, followed by the Springsteen/Mellencamp/Petty heartland country anthemics of “The Ballad of Elano DeLeon” (featuring vocal assistance from Joe Ely) and “Some People's Kids.”
But RK shows off their pure honky tonk chops with purer country fare like “I've Done Everything I Could Do Wrong” and the brilliant “I Hold the Bottle, You Hold the Wheel,” a fairly significant departure from the band's Texas Red Dirt/twang rock roots. Bennett himself even shows up on a couple of tracks, as do members of his revered Famous Motel Cowboys, but even as Bennett's songs form the foundation, it's Reckless Kelly's boundless energy and vibrant interpretations, both within and beyond their established country rock range, that make this album a tribute album that bristles with originality.
Somewhere In Time Review
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Reckless Kelly, that hard-touring, country rock band entering its 15th year, released its best-ever ...Reckless Kelly, that hard-touring, country rock band entering its 15th year, released its best-ever selling album in 2008 with "Bulletproof," which sold 6,000 copies in its first week. So what do they do for a follow-up? They release an album of songs by an old-timer from Idaho that no one more than 100 miles out of Boise has ever heard of.
"Somewhere In Time" finds the band covering Pinto Bennett of the Famous Motel Cowboys, whose heyday in the 1970s was right around the time R.K.'s lead singer, Willy Braun, was born.
"Pinto and the Motel Cowboys were a huge influence on me and Willy," says fiddle player Cody Braun, whose father, Muzzy Braun, was a contemporary, the Jerry Jeff Walker to Bennett's Ray Wylie Hubbard. "They were the first live band that really knocked us out, but the older we got the more we loved the songwriting." Cody Braun said Reckless Kelly had talked about doing an album of Bennett's songs for 10 years, and after touring steadily to promote "Bulletproof," the band was in the mood to do a stop-gap project with the songs fully formed before stepping into the studio.
"We had our work cut out trying to sell our label (Yep Roc) on the concept," Cody Braun says. "We wanted to make it clear that this wasn't a tribute record. It's still a Reckless Kelly record, but we're doing someone else's songs."
Bennett and fellow former Motel Cowboys Sergio Webb and Rob Matson came down to Austin to guest on a couple tracks at Cedar Creek Recording studio in South Austin. "Pinto is a wild guy, a true artist," says Cody Braun. "And he's got great stories. This was by far the funnest album we've ever made."
Although there are scattered rockers, "Somewhere in Time" is also the most country & western — heavy on the western — album the band's made since their days as the pre-teen Little Braun Boys. "It's been cool going back to our roots," says Cody. Another nod to the past is the return of original bassist Chris Schleske after eight years away.
"The band's in a really good place right now," Cody says. "We'll get to work soon writing songs for our next album, but for now we just love playing these songs."
Reckless Kelly plays an in-store at Waterloo Records Tuesday at 5 p.m. They'll also appear at Antone's Friday night.
Somewhere In Time Review
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The great thing about the roots music movement in America is the little-known and regional voices ex...The great thing about the roots music movement in America is the little-known and regional voices exposed to wider audiences.
Reckless Kelly does us all a favor with its latest, "Somewhere In Time." The album is made up completely of songs written by Pinto Bennett, an overlooked country songwriter from Boise, Idaho, whose adroit music deserves a closer look.
Two of the band's members, Willy and Cody Braun, grew up in Idaho and were exposed to Bennett's music long ago. Bennett was a hit in Europe, but never really caught on in the U.S., and that's a shame.
The music as channeled by the Austin, Texas-based band is fun, poignant, authentic and completely deserving of this tribute, which comes on the heels of Reckless Kelly's most commercially successful album, 2008's "Bulletproof."
The album opens with the heavy rocker "Little Blossom," the story of a life spinning out of control, bounces along with "Bird on a Wire," and gets all deep with "Some People's Kids." Bennett's at his best, though, when his wry humor comes to the forefront on songs like "I've Done Everything I Could Do Wrong" and "I Hold The Bottle, You Hold The Wheel."
Here's hoping "Somewhere In Time" brings a little more attention to Bennett.
CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: The best thing about Bennett's songs are the evocative lyrics. Bennett paints a vivid picture in the title track. Add in a beautiful fiddle line and the song is stunning.
Reckless Kelly Wins in Nashville
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Reckless Kelly Wins in Nashville Posted: November 20th, 2009 at 3:30 pm | By: HYPERLINK "http://b...Reckless Kelly Wins in Nashville
Posted: November 20th, 2009 at 3:30 pm | By: HYPERLINK "http://blog.cmt.com/author/parton/"Chris Parton
Winning and losing isn't something that usually comes to mind when thinking about music, but the guys in HYPERLINK "http://www.cmt.com/artists/az/reckless_kelly/artist.jhtml"Reckless Kelly say that sometimes at the end of a concert you get one feeling or the other from a crowd. They definitely won Thursday night (Nov. 19) at Nashville's HYPERLINK "http://www.exitin.com/"Exit/In. Opened by HYPERLINK "http://www.thescottmiller.com/"Scott Miller, the show ran past midnight for an audience that only seemed to want more.
Finishing up a three week tour and heading back home to Austin, Tx., the roots rockers stopped in and played all the big songs like HYPERLINK "http://www.cmt.com/videos/reckless-kelly/316244/ragged-as-the-road.jhtml""Ragged as the Road," "Nobody's Girl," HYPERLINK "http://www.cmt.com/videos/reckless-kelly/120494/i-still-do.jhtml""I Still Do," "Wild Western Windblown Band" and "Wicked Twisted Road," only to be urged back to the stage by shouts, screams and some of the loudest, most persistent whistling I've ever heard. Their encore started with "Seven Nights in Eire" -- my favorite song about a trip to Ireland. I love the sway in the guitar and fiddle -- and moved through the up-swelling "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" before finishing with a flourish of drums on "Castanets."
It was a bit of a special night, though, since the band has a new album coming out in early February. Called Somewhere in Time, it's a tribute to HYPERLINK "http://www.myspace.com/pintobennett"Pinto Bennett of the Famous Motel Cowboys, an old friend of the Braun family and one of many influences on Reckless Kelly. Two of the members of the Motel Cowboys were in the crowd Thursday night, so lead singer Willie Braun gave a little preview of the new project by playing "Best Forever Yet." I won't give away how it sounds just yet, since it's more fun to HYPERLINK "http://www.myspace.com/recklesskelly"catch a show and find out for yourself, but I'll bet the guys keep winning their nightly battles for quite some time.
Somewhere In Time Review
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When you talk about the Texas music scene, Reckless Kelly is arguable the name that will be around t...When you talk about the Texas music scene, Reckless Kelly is arguable the name that will be around the top of everyone's list. Their albums have always walked that fine edge of mainstream country with a healthy influence of the red dirt scene. With their latest release, Somewhere In Time, they pay tribute to Pinto Bennett, who with his band the Famous Motel Cowboys influenced many of the Northwestern artists including Willy and Cody Braun. Although this is tribute album, this album is still every bit Reckless Kelly as they demonstrate perfectly with the album's lead single "Best Forever Yet." The rocking edged music you've come to expect from them leaps through your speakers as they toss you into the album with "Little Blossom," and they continue showing this style to you with cuts like "The Ballad of Elano DeLeon" and "Pure Quill." However, what you don't normally see from Reckless Kelly is a pure dancehall and traditional honkey-tonk sound that they explore frequently throughout this album with cuts like "Bird on a Wire," "I've Done Everything I Could Do Wrong," and "I Hold The Bottle, You Hold The Wheel." Pinto Bennett, along with two of his guitarists and his fiddle player also joined in on the fun adding an extra special element to this tribute album. No matter how you slice it this sounds like a Reckless Kelly album for the most part and is absolutely going to satisfy their diehard fans while all the while respectively paying tribute to the man who is partially responsible for getting Reckless Kelly to where they are at today.