Friday, November 13, 2009

20 Days in November - Day 8: Reckless Kelly

A few weeks back I saw that Reckless Kelly was scheduled to play at the The State Theatre along with Scott Miller and I immediately purchased tickets. I would have made this decision even if Miller was the headliner - but to have both in the same building - a no brainer. I arrived just at showtime and the venue was already full - evidently a lot of people had similar views in waiting to listen to both acts. Miller is touring with Reckless Kelly as a solo act - so The Commonwealth had stayed home. The acoustics at the theater were perfect for him solo, each distinct note was crystal clear - even at the back bar. Miller and I have something in common in the sense that he hails from Augusta County Virginia just like out dog Augusta, who hails from the Augusta County SPCA. Many of his songs reflect living in the region or traveling to neighboring West Virginia. See "Appalachian Refugee" and "Indiana Sin". His best songs: "Drunk Around Town" and "Amtrak Crescent"; most of which are available on For Crying Out Loud and Reconstruction. Highly recommended.

The venue became even more crowded when Reckless Kelly took stage - with a sudden rush to the front. We've been following this band for several years after seeing a fleeting glance of their talent at an Austin City Limits festival. I immediately purchased Under the Table and Above the Sun with "Let's Just Fall", "Nobody's Girl", and "Vancouver" becoming instant favorites. And to my luck - the band performed each one this evening. Reckless Kelly's nucleus are brothers Cody and Willy Braun - Cody on fiddle, harmonica, and mandolin and Willy the singer, songwriter, and as Robert Earl Keen says: "...and hurricane force guitar slinger". The brothers grew up in Idaho, and first played in their fathers swing band with younger brothers Micky and Gary - who eventually formed Micky & the Motorcars. Talking about a musical family; wow - what a musical family. After playing a few years based out of Oregon, Cody and Willy relocated to Austin and have been one of the most popular alt-country bands in the state.

I was expecting this type of sound, but unexpectedly was attending an all out rock concert. And I mean concert. There was no fooling around between songs - as soon as one finished they unleashed into the next. And they can play. Drummer Jay Nazz and Chris Schleke on bass set the background - but at times its David Abeyta on electric guitar that steals the show. The guy is awesome - yet unassuming and no grandstanding. And paired with Willy Braun on electric or acoustic - this was a rock band. Loved it - particularly the extended version of "Helter Skelter". They performed songs from most every album in their portfolio - which made most of the fans surrounding us very happy as they cheered the intro chords after recognizing a favorite. I only recognized one song from their latest CD, Bulletproof - "American Blood" - although I'm sure there were more. But during their encore they did play a song I've heard a few times on satellite radio - the entertaining "Wiggles and Ritalin". And they closed with a rockin' Alejandro Escovedo tune. After an evening of listening to the band - I'm itching for a trip to Austin. Fortunately The Randy Rogers Band comes to town Sunday. Thanks for a great show.

More photos are available at the MyJoog Gallery.

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