SXSW 2008 has ended
Friday, March 14 • 11:30pm - Saturday, March 15 •12:00am
Reckless Kelly

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When Reckless Kelly released its 2006 triple-disc CD/DVD package with the title, Reckless Kelly Was Here, the question almost begged to be asked: Where hasn’t Reckless Kelly been? In 11 years together, the Austin, Texas-based Americana band has figuratively left its mark everywhere from college bars to dancehalls to festival stages throughout the South and West, and now the quintet is carving a swath across the rest of the lower 48 — and then some. Reckless Kelly’s bid for expanded recognition even includes national anthem gigs like the one it will do October 21 in Reliant Stadium for the Houston Texans-Tennessee Titans game, and the band just debuted its new tribute to our national pastime, “April to October,” at a park outside of Austin that houses the area’s minor-league team. Baseball-fan brothers Willy and Cody Braun, Reckless Kelly’s nucleus, dream of hitting the high notes from center field at Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium, respectively, but competing allegiances aside, they’ve known since they were kids performing with brothers Gary and Micky in their dad’s Western swing band, Muzzie Braun & the Boys, that they’d be playing out their lives onstage. The only question is whether Reckless Kelly should be introduced as a country rock band or a rockin’ country band. Not that it matters. Lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Willy, fidder/mandolinist/harp blower/vocalist Cody and their fellow players — Berklee-grad lead guitarist David Abeyta, bassist Jimmy McFeeley and drummer Jay Nazz (another family-band vet) — don’t care what you call it. They’re just happy to be making music — and they’ll do it their way regardless of anyone’s preconceived notions. In Austin, Reckless Kelly is considered a trendsetter; it was one of the first roots-rock bands to generate a huge following, and in the process, it influenced many other bands that picked up on that sound. “We started out as a country band trying to be a little edgier with the rock ’n’ roll stuff, like Son Volt and Billy Joe Shaver’s Unshaven album,” explains Cody. “That was the direction we wanted to go, and we did, and we've almost gotten beyond that point now, where we have to rein it in to keep some of the country in there.” Eagles comparisons? They’ve heard them. Outlaws references? There might be a slight nod to “Green Grass & High Tides” buried in a song or two, but they’re far more aligned with real outlaw-country types, like the Highwaymen or the Flatlanders. In fact, Flatlander Joe Ely snatched up the band for a spring 2007 mini-tour following their collaboration on “Riders in the Rain” for a Randy Newman tribute album. Ely calls it “my kind of band: hell-raising, hard-playing, kick-ass songwriting, feet firmly in the (more) Reckless Kelly/BIO Page Two present, but with an amazing knowledge of where it has all come from.” (They also share a sly sense of humor; during the tour, Ely wore a T-shirt that read “The Joe Ely & Reckless Kelly Show,” emphasizing the acronym JERKS.) Reckless Kelly itself germinated in rural Idaho, where the Braun boys were schooled in Bob Wills and Gene Autry. After wending their way to Oregon, where they explored their Son Volt influences in a short-lived band called the Prairie Mutts, Willy and Cody recruited Nazz and two other players, morphed into Reckless Kelly and migrated to Austin. The band hooked up with one of Muzzie’s pals, country songwriter-artist Chris Wall, caused a huge stir on the local scene (readers of The Austin Chronicle voted it Best Roots-Rock Band six consecutive times). After self-released its first few albums, the band recruited Abeyta and McFeeley, signed with Sugar Hill Records and eventually began collaborating with idols like Steve Earle, with whom the band recorded tracks for the Warren Zevon tribute album, Enjoy Every Sandwich, and the Alejandro Escovedo tribute, Por Vida. (Earle’s Twangtrust producing partner, Ray Kennedy, helmed Reckless Kelly’s Sugar Hill debut, 2003’s Under the Table and Above the Sun, and 2005’s Wicked Twisted Road. Following the live tour-de-force Reckless Kelly Was Here, the label honored the band with the new Americana Masters Series release, Reckless Kelly: Best of the Sugar Hill Years.) Whether its doing covers, like its hot-rockin’ version of Escovedo’s “Castanets,” its laid-back take on the Beatles’ “Revolution” or a timbre-rich delivery of Richard Thompson’s “1952 Vincent Black Lightning,” or one of its own crowd-whipping originals, like “Wiggles & Ritalin,” “Sixgun” or “Break My Heart Tonight,” Reckless Kelly has no trouble gaining converts. Here’s what the Birmingham (Ala.) News had to say about a recent show: “The whole mixture works to perfection, and it’s a shame the band calls Austin home. Birmingham could use a few resident bands like Reckless Kelly.” Allmusic.com calls Reckless Kelly “an utterly soulful and raucous country-rock band” and adds, “They have songs, chops, and plenty of piss and vinegar to make you stomp around the crib shaking your fist in the air and attempting to do a drunken two-step.” Accolades for Reckless Kelly Was Here sounded a lot like this one from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “(The album) captures every ounce of stage energy and deserves to be listed with the great live rock-era albums, alongside the Who’s Live at Leeds, Janis Joplin’s Cheap Thrills or even Warren Zevon’s Stand in the Fire. It’s that good.” And no less an authority than the Nashville Tennessean labeled the band “one of the most able torch-carriers in recent years for cranking, passionate twang-rock.” Such flattery could go to their heads, but these industry vets — the Braun boys even did the Grand Ole Opry and Johnny Carson had them on “The Tonight Show” twice — won’t let that kind of praise make them lazy. If anything, it inspires them to work harder. “Musically, right now, we’re sitting at a place where we really want to try to build on the songs and set the bar a little bit higher with every record,” says Cody. (more) Reckless Kelly/BIO Page Three Under the guidance of its new management agency, Murphy to Manteo Music Management of North Carolina and Nashville (who broke Hootie & the Blowfish and 2006 country sensation Jason Michael Carroll), and with a broadened Budweiser relationship that will open new, non-traditional marketing outlets for their already-in-the-works 2008 release, the band expects to hit many more “wicked, twisted roads.” When the Braun boys were traveling to gigs in the family motor home, they often listened to a favorite band called the Famous Motel Cowboys. Willy pays tribute to them in “Motel Cowboy Show,” which includes the lyric, “Well, the boys are in their prime/Let’s see ’em one more time.” Yeah, the Reckless Kelly guys are in their prime. And they plan to stay there for a long, long time. Media Contact: Jill McGuckin, McGuckin Entertainment PR, 512.217.9404; jill@mcguckinpr.com Management: Rusty Harmon & Mark Zenow, MTM Music Management, 919.859.5333; rustyharmon@mtmfirm.com, markzenow@mtmfirm.com Booking Agent: Brian Hill, Monterey Peninsula Artists, 615.251.4400; brian@mpanashville.com # # #

Friday March 14, 2008 11:30pm - Saturday March 15, 2008 12:00am
Austin Music Hall 208 Nueces St

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