Sometimes I wonder if I’ve been living under a rock somewhere. Or maybe I just live a little too far east to be familiar with some of the great sounds that come out of Texas, Oklahoma, and some of our other western states. So I don’t mind admitting that I never heard of Reckless Kelly. Until today that is. I received a CD review from Andrew W. Griffin, Red Dirt Report editor. Andrew has sent me a number of reviews over the past few years, and I’m always happy to share them with you.
By Andrew W. Griffin
Red Dirt Report, editor
Posted: October 14, 2011
Last time we checked out a Reckless Kelly album, they were steeped in the alt-country tunes of Pinto Bennett, a songsmith from their native Idaho who wrote a barrel-full of superb tunes over the years. Red Dirt Report really dug that one. And before that was the last disc of original tunes – 2008’s hard-rockin’ Bulletproof, which I favorably reviewed in The Norman Transcript that year.
And with the just-released disc Good Luck & True Love, RK – singer Willy Braun, fiddle playin’Cody Braun, guitarist David Abeyta, bassist Chris Schelske and drummer Jay Nazz– really seem to have found where they are most comfortable. While I loved 2005’sWicked Twisted Road the best of their more recent studio material, and really dug where they were going on the Pinto project, this disc really sets ‘em firmly in that accessible, roots-rock territory that fits like an old shoe. Comfortable and interesting.
“Guarded Heart,” which starts off with a strummy, almost jangly intro, is terribly promising for the boys. It’s got Texas/Red Dirt radio hit written all over it. Perhaps because Willy co-wrote it with his other brother, Micky, of Micky and The Motorcars, a band that has thrived on that sort of sound. Those Braun brothers are a talented bunch.
The sing-along anthem “Good Luck & True Love” has a twangy jingle-jangle country vibe that Reckless Kelly are experts at expressing.
Texas bands love singing about Nashville, usually in derisive terms. On the easy-going “New Moon Over Nashville,” Willy seems optimistic and RK seems pretty game to make it in Music City as well, if the positive approach on this track is any indicator. “Gotta have hope” seems to be the message.
“I Never Liked St. Valentine,” which Braun wrote with Texas music cult favorite Todd Snider is the highlight here where Willy sings about the one saint he doesn’t like because of how things have turned out, compared to St. Patrick and St. Nicholas, for starters. This is the song I keep coming to for a good chuckle and a smile.
The ramblin’ road rocker “Hit the Ground Runnin’” takes a little time to build and when it does you’re ready for it. The life of a touring band like Reckless Kelly is expressed quite clearly in this Willy Braun original. And it’s always good to hear guitarist David Abeyta heat things up, as he does here.
Slower songs like the fiddle-heavy “tear-in-my-beer”country-folk of “I Stayed Up All Night Again,” featuring backing vocals by Dani Flowers, does not seem well-executed to my trained ears. Think Cody Canada and Lee Ann Womack on “Sick and Tired” and remember how good it was. This could have been as good but the energy seemed to be missing.
And just an observation … for those who pick up the CD, the artwork is interesting, with its late 19th century sideshow imagery, games of chance artwork and hipster handlebar mustache pics. I like it. Definitely popular these days.
For more information go to www.recklesskelly.com.
Copyright 2011 West Marie Media
Posted by Country’s Chatter with permission.
In addition to their web site, you can follow Reckless Kelly on Facebook; Keep up with them on Twitter @recklesskelly; and check out their music on YouTube. Thanks, Andrew. Great review! I hope everyone has a fun weekend planned. I’m going to get out of here for a while! Talk to you all soon!