Sound Advice: Reckless Kelly with Taylor Shannon (Nov. 4)

Reckless Kelly brings a blend of twanged-out Country and electrically blissed-out Rock to the Madison Theater.

Nov 2, 2016 at 12:08 pm

click to enlarge Reckless Kelly - Photo: Carl Dunn / Backstage Design Studio
Photo: Carl Dunn / Backstage Design Studio
Reckless Kelly
The story of Reckless Kelly is a Country song come to vivid life and then made into a movie that would be completely implausible if it weren’t absolutely true.

The Braun brothers — Willy, Cody, Gary and Micky — were drafted into their father’s Western Swing band as children and played professionally for many years as Muzzie Braun and the Boys, touring constantly and even appearing twice on The Tonight Show. Along the way, the family moved from their native Idaho to Bend, Ore. and the brothers shifted their attention to their own bands — Gary and Micky to Micky and the Motorcars and Willy and Cody to Reckless Kelly, a sly reference to legendary Australian bandit Ned Kelly.

Twenty years ago, Willy and Cody Braun and drummer Jay Nazz, himself a veteran of his own father’s club/wedding band, relocated to the musical mecca that is Austin, Texas. There the quintet, eventually cemented with the additions of guitarist David Abeyta in 2000 and bassist Joe Miller in 2012, began making a name for itself in one of the toughest and most competitive music markets in the world by playing a visceral blend of authentically twanged-out Country and electrically blissed-out Rock. In short order, Reckless Kelly, acutely influenced by Son Volt’s Trace album, made fans of Texas music icons Robert Earl Keen (who managed the band for a spell) and Joe Ely and applied lessons learned at the feet of Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Steve Earle and others to its blazingly honest and soulful songs.

The result was Reckless Kelly’s self-released debut album, 1998’s Millican, and the stage was set for a two-decade run that has produced two live sets and seven additional studio albums, including 2011’s Grammy-nominated Good Luck & True Love, 2013’s Grammy-winning Long Night Moon and the group’s latest triumph, the just-released Sunset Motel.

Reckless Kelly’s members’ hearts are as big as their musical ambitions; they host two annual charitable events, The Braun Brothers Reunion in Challis, Idaho and the Reckless Kelly Celebrity Softball Jam in Austin. Great music made by great people with outlaw souls and Samaritan hearts; we should all be this reckless. 

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