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Country - Released May 22, 2020 | No Big Deal Records

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Country - Released June 21, 2019 | No Big Deal Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Sugar Hill Records

One might argue that Reckless Kelly is good at a lot of the same things other alternative country bands excel in. They've got the same nice rootsy mix of acoustic-electric instruments, and a scruffy sounding singer to deliver world-weary lyrics. But there's a difference on Wicked Twisted Road, and that's in how the band -- guitarist David Abeyta, fiddler Cody Braun, singer Willy Braun, bassist Jimmy McFeeley, and percussionist Jay Nazz -- puts it all together. From the get-go, the band shows its ability to deliver songs like the title track and "Dogtown" in the most natural, unaffected manner. The latter unwinds at a nice, lazy pace perfectly suited for Willy's vocal and harmonica solo. In other words, Reckless Kelly never gives one the impression that it's striking an alternative country pose consisting of one part talent and two parts attitude. The band also knows how to stretch itself stylistically. "Seven Nights in Eire" offers a surprising mix of Celtic and country and blending fiddles and steel guitar, while "Sixgun" offers brash, country-rock. If Wicked Twisted Road is a tale of life and love on the road, then Reckless Kelly has told it well. Fans will appreciate the solid effort, while everyone else -- who's never quite gotten around to checking out the band -- will find it a nice introduction. © Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 24, 2008 | Yep Roc Records

Steve Earle got slagged off in the country music press for his hard rocking, latter-day MCA offerings Copperhead Road and The Hard Way. He's been vindicated in numerous ways over the years; last but not least is the way contemporary country music has moved toward embracing the big guitars and drum sounds of 1970s heartland rock in the 21st century. Reckless Kelly, from Earle's home state of Texas, seemed to get the rougher rock & roll aspect of Earle's brand of country from the word go. Beginning with Millican in 1998, RK have blazed a trail and created a trademark brand of road-screaming country-rock music that's big on loud guitars, clean popping drums, and tremendously hooky songs. Released in 2008, Bulletproof is Reckless Kelly's standout and apparently the set that puts their name on the wider map. Despite some of its left-leaning lyrics in a highly charged political climate, the band will not be denied its video being screened by GAC and the album entering at number two on Billboard's Heatseekers chart, number 22 on its Country chart, and number 117 on its Top 200 chart. The world of RK -- the band is fronted by guitarist and chief songwriter Willy Braun with brother Cody singing harmony and playing mandolin, fiddle, and harmonica; David Abeyta on lead guitar and lap steel; bassist Jimmy McFeely; and Jay Nazz on drums -- revolves around endless roads inside an America where everything begins to look more desperately the same ("How Was California?" and "God Forsaken Town"). People end up endlessly disappointed and frustrated when encountering the paradox of who their nation says they are and what the nation is in and of itself ("American Blood"). In the midst of all the collective ennui and dislocation is a belief in and desire for love and community that is honest, passionate, and sometimes overreaching -- even if the protagonist has no idea how to define it, he knows it when he sees, or rather, feels it. Check "A Guy Like Me," "Love in Her Eyes," "You Don't Have to Stay Forever," and the truly devastating title track that closes the album. Add to this that Braun's songs are full of ragged, jagged, edgy hooks and dirty-sounding guitars that match the rough-and-tumble gravel in his voice, and what you have is the record that elder statesmen like John Mellencamp and Earle, who inspired this music, would love to make, but have weathered too many storms and acquired too much discerning wisdom of age to pull it off now. In fact, the only act that comes close to realizing this depth of feeling and sometimes dangerous honesty is Arizona's Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers. This set speaks to a generation that loves to have good times but feels like those times may be, to paraphrase Merle Haggard, really over for good. Bulletproof doesn't have to reach for the brass ring, because it's been tarnished; instead, it reaches for whatever is there -- the open highway, the closest thing to companionship and community it can find -- and with a keen skeptic's eye toward promises that have proven empty. All killer, no filler, Bulletproof is Reckless Kelly's masterpiece thus far. And thus far, Nash Vegas hasn't been able to deny these Austin upstarts, because the music transcends its censorious boundaries. Let's hope that continues. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Country - Released September 3, 2013 | No Big Deal Records

Two years after Good Luck & True Love, an album that made its way into the Top 20 of Billboard's country chart, the band has been rethinking its production ideas. Once again releasing an album independently on their No Big Deal Records label, this is easily the most polished studio offering in Reckless Kelly's catalog. Co-produced by the Willy & Cody Braun and mixed by Ray Kennedy (Steve Earle's partner in the Twang Trust), their sound remains rooted in the Red Dirt country sound they helped to bring to the marketplace. Willy's expressive, grainy baritone is right up front and brother Cody's fiddle anchors his delivery on each of these 12 songs. Electric and acoustic guitars, a natural-sounding drum kit, and guest musicians -- Lloyd Maines on pedal steel, Jeff Plankenhorn on dobro, and Bukka Allen on keyboards -- fill out the profile that sits solidly in the Red Dirt/Americana realm of country rock. Long Night Moon may be shinier in articulation, but it's far from slick. Throughout these 12 songs about love, road life, conflict, tenderness, and resignation, the themes of constant motion and travel emerge as dominant and haunt Braun's fine lyrics that all reflect the tensions in the heart of the wandering musician. Standout tracks include the shimmering title number, "Real Cool Hand" (which recalls the melodic rock & roll edginess on Earle's early records), "I Can't Stand It," "The Last Goodbye," and closer "Idaho." © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Country - Released February 9, 2010 | Yep Roc Records

The fact that Reckless Kelly's raw, rootsy brand of country music has to be labeled "alternative country-rock" may say something about the sad state of things in that musical neighborhood; not that long ago, it seems like it would have just been called country music, or maybe "outlaw country" à la Waylon Jennings or Billy Joe Shaver -- or Pinto Bennett, the legendary Idaho singer/songwriter in whose honor Reckless Kelly put together this collection of songs. Bennett gave the group counsel and support in its early days, and the band returns the favor with this stellar album dedicated to his compositions. There are really no weak tracks here: the honky tonk lament "I've Done Everything I Could Do Wrong," the flat-out rocking "Ballad of Elano DeLeon," and the Mavericks-sounding "Bird on a Wire" would all be the highlight tracks on any other band's album, and even the slightly seasick waltz "Somewhere in Time" manages to rock powerfully. Willy Braun's chesty lead vocals are a big part of Reckless Kelly's winning sound: he stays just close enough to the country mainstream with his resonant baritone and moderate twang, but ventures at will into rockier vocal terrain as well. Lead guitarist David Abeyta treads a similarly fuzzy boundary between forward-thinking rockism and the country verities, and good for both of them. The result is a country-rock album that's as satisfying as a 12-ounce steak with a big pile of mashed potatoes. © Rick Anderson /TiVo
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Country - Released September 13, 2011 | No Big Deal Records

Reckless Kelly may be a band, but it is also a showcase for singer/songwriter/guitarist Willy Braun, who deserves to be mentioned in the company of the top Texas songwriters of the last few decades. He and the group have made a series of albums reminiscent of the smart, roadhouse country rock of Joe Ely in the 1970s and Steve Earle in the ‘80s, along the way breaking into the country, and finally, the pop charts. Good Luck & True Love, the first collection of all-new Braun originals since 2008's Bulletproof, should continue that progression. He addresses the usual topics favored by country songwriters, including liquor, the road, heartbreak, and country music itself, but he is capable of putting a twist on them, as he does, for example, in the lead-off track, "Give It a Try," which finds him anticipating a love affair both he and the lady in question know in advance isn't going to work out. Albums don't usually come in the form of two-sided LPs anymore, but this disc is structured as if it did, with the first "side" containing the harder-rocking numbers, and the second more country-oriented ones, as multi-instrumentalist brother Cody Braun breaks out his fiddle. In between, Willy Braun has collaborated with idiosyncratic Texas songwriter Todd Snider on "I Never Liked St. Valentine." The lyric -- in fact, the whole song -- seems to belong to Snider, actually. It is typical of his dry humor, as Braun muses about various holidays and saints while finding himself alone on Valentine's Day. He accuses Santa Claus (St. Nicholas) of consorting with prostitutes, and he is perhaps reflecting on the impending canonization of Pope John Paul II when he wryly drawls, "You know, if you perform two miracles, you're just a regular guy. Perform one more, and you're a saint." Amusing as this is, it's a far cry from Reckless Kelly's usual fare. Braun makes it clear that he's ready to stake a claim to country popularity on "New Moon over Nashville," though, and Music Row may finally be ready for a Texas band that can rock out, write above-average country songs, and come up with a mean fiddle tune, too. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Sugar Hill Records

Call it whatever you want -- country-rock, alt-country, roots rock, whatever -- what Reckless Kelly makes is great, hooky pop music. It's got all the jangly guitars, two-step rhythms, and artificial diphthongs ("I saw the same old streets for far too lahwong") necessary to reassure country-music fans who might nervously suspect that they're enjoying rock & roll, but it makes no real concessions to the genre; when they want to rock out, they do ("Let's Just Fall," "I Saw It Coming"), and when they want to deliver a full-on Texas barroom weeper, complete with a vaguely Mexican acoustic guitar break and strategic smatterings of lap steel, well, they do that too. The brother team of Willy and Cody Braun manage to touch all of the standard, by-the-numbers lyrical themes without seeming to be saying the same things as everyone else. They're asking for mercy and to be set free, and they're broke down, and they're trying to make it to the borderline, and they're frustrated by the inaccessibility of the woman who wasn't around when the sun went down. But when they sing "Nobody's Girl" or "Set Me Free," those tired sentiments actually sound vital and fresh. It's also worth noting that the album includes two songs about skiing and one about the Beatles. Interestingly, there's no one song that really jumps out at you. Instead, the whole thing pulls you along happily, with a feeling very much like that of riding through rugged, beautiful countryside in a nice car. Highly recommended. © Rick Anderson /TiVo

Country - Released March 28, 2014 | Rummy Records

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Millican is a solid if unspectacular alt-country record -- Reckless Kelly doesn't add anything new to the genre, but their affection for the torch-and-twang sound appears genuine, and their songwriting bears the mark of real craftsmanship. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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Country - Released January 1, 2007 | Sugar Hill Records

Reckless Kelly debuted on Sugar Hill in 2003, and by 2006 had cut two studio albums and one live record for the label. In a sense, this installment of Best of the Sugar Hill Years feels less grandiose than those by bands who have a deeper history with the label. One cannot argue, as one might with Doyle Lawson or the Lonesome River Band, that the group has achieved classic status. Best of the Sugar Hill Years is less a career overview than a snapshot of Reckless Kelly's last four years. The snapshot, however, is a very lively one, offering a solid overview of the band's work during that time frame and featuring vivacious alternative country that rocks hard. The band's sound is built around Willy Braun's songs and lead vocals backed by Cody Braun's harmony, and augmented by David Abeyta's guitar work along with a solid rhythm section featuring bassist Jimmy McFeeley and percussionist Jay Nazz. Perhaps because most of the tracks come from the group's two studio albums, the material, from "Nobody's Girl" to "Crazy Eddie's Last Hurrah," flows together well. There's also one cut, "Rider in the Rain," from Sail Away: The Songs of Randy Newman. Best of the Sugar Hill Years is limited by drawing so much material from two albums, but it is nonetheless a solid introduction to an energetic band. © Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. /TiVo

Country - Released March 28, 2014 | Valley Records

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Country - Released September 13, 2011 | No Big Deal Records

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Country - Released October 31, 2000 | No Big Deal Records

Country - Released October 31, 2000 | Valley Records

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"...Interesting....a little bit country, a little bit rock'n'roll...a little whiskey soaked..." © TiVo
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Country - Released January 31, 2020 | No Big Deal Records

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Country - Released February 28, 2020 | No Big Deal Records

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Country - Released August 6, 2013 | No Big Deal Records

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Country - Released June 14, 2019 | No Big Deal Records

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Country - Released March 27, 2020 | No Big Deal Records

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Country - Released June 6, 2000 | No Big Deal Records