December 4th, 2009

Wild Western Windblown Band: Reckless Kelly Comes to Town

In 6 Words: Texas, Raucous, Twang, Music, Americana, Katy

Forged in Idaho and perfected in Austin, Reckless Kelly will be bringing their own brand of country music to Mo’s Place (21940 Kingsland Boulevard Katy, TX 77450-2428) on Saturday, December 6th. Anyone who has experienced these guys live, knows that it’s a show that you won’t want to miss. It promises to be a night of tight jean skirts, stetsons and two stepping to raucous country music.

One of the problems that I run across with the music that I listen to is trying to classify it for would-be fans. How do you categorize a band that is as comfortable playing their own songs as they are covering an AC/DC tune or an old country standard?

In Houston, people are a little more aware of the Texas Country scene and the wide array of music it encompasses. When I lived on the east coast for a few years, any time I tried to get my friends to go see one the bands from home, I always had to answer the “what kind of music is it?” question. Hearing the word country usually assured that they would make up an excuse to bail, but the few people didn’t have to “wash their hair that night” and saw a show with me always left impressed.

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Reckless Kelly is one band that always makes fans of anyone who catches their live show. Brothers Willy and Cody Braun, David Abeyta, Jay Nazz and Chris Schelske are as comfortable with the music they play as the ragged road they travel from show to show. Having followed Reckless Kelly for sometime now, I’ve managed to catch shows in New York, San Fran and here in Houston. From the opening lick to the final encore, they play hard charging country music with a rock edge… Or, maybe it’s up tempo rock with a country twang. Whatever the style is, it’s good, people enjoy it, and it makes them dance.

Each show I’ve seen has a distinct and unique vibe, an anomaly that has more to do with the audience than with the band on stage. Being able to see the band in venues that range from huge festivals to a packed 300 person Mercury Room in NYC to an old converted movie theater, you get a sense for their live show and how consistent they are. From the rowdy cowboys of the Texas Country scene to the northern California hippies, Reckless Kelly appeals to a wide range of rabid fans because they bring the same energy and musical precision to every one of their shows.

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With their last studio effort, Bulletproof, the band achieved its best selling album to date. It contained Reckless Kelly’s first #1 song on both the Texas and Americana charts, “Ragged as the Road.” It also earned them a nomination as the “Best Band or Duo” at the 2009 Americana Music Awards. The record is a collection of hard charging songs that barrel straight ahead and keep your boots tapping to the beat. Bulletproof definitely turns the tempo and the volume up from Reckless Kelly’s previous albums, and the live shows on the supporting tour followed suit.

Reckless Kelly also used Bulletproof to pick up the torch of social responsibility with the biting “American Blood,” an open critique of George’s foreign policy and the beautiful “God Forsaken Town,” co-written with Texas legend Robert Earl Keen, which looks at the devastation of Hurricane Katrina from a survivor’s perspective. As Reckless Kelly dove into songs with a political slant they proved they can rock with the best of them, but they are at their best when there is a message behind the music.

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Reckless Kelly’s latest offering, Somewhere in Time, is a collection of Pinto Bennett songs that they’ve redone. According to Cody Braun, “It’s simply a bunch of great songs we thought people should hear.” After listening to the first track of the album, Best Forever Yet, it’s definitely a return to the band’s twangier roots, but with an unmistakable spin that only Reckless Kelly could put on it. As Willy Braun sings in “Don’t Break My Heart Tonight,” “write what you know.” After spending so much time on the road, it’s obvious that Pinto and Willie share some common knowledge, which bodes well for the new record. It will be interesting to see what affect this new record will have on their live show. I anticipate that they will incorporate much more of the fiddle and steel guitar into their live sets with these new songs, which will also give them the opportunity to rework some old favorites.

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Luckily, we’ll have a chance to see them sooner than later at their show at Mo’s Place in Katy. According to their website, they go on at 11:30PM, but the earlier you get there, the better. Mo’s is a decent sized venue with a nice stage, but it will fill up with Reckless Kelly playing beneath the bright lights. It’s definitely not inside the loop, but it is worth the drive out there. You’ll have to wait for the album to be released on February 9th to see if it’s their “Best Forever Yet.”

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Where – 21940 Kingsland Boulevard Katy, TX 77450-2428 (View Map)
What – Good Ol’ Texas Music at the Chronicle’s best Honky Tonk in Houston
Wear – No Bandanas, Tank Tops or Backwards caps. Apparently, everything else is ok.
How Much – Presale: $25 Reserved Seating & $20 General Admission; Day of the show: $25 General Admission
When – Saturday, December 5th
WebMo’s Place Website; Reckless Kelly Website; Facebook; Twitter

— Marc

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