Reckless Kelly builds its reputation on an unstoppable live show |

Reckless Kelly builds its reputation on an unstoppable live show

Ted Alvarez
Austin, TX alt-country rockers Reckless Kelly play the Vail Valley for the first time tonight at the Rumpus Room in Edwards.

Reckless Kelly make a living out of straddling the fence between country and rock, a no-man’s land where ZZ Top and Johnny Cash kick up the dust together from time to time before heading back to their safe havens. But Reckless Kelly live here all the time, and it shows in their take-no-prisoners, outlaw-country show. “We’ve always leaned toward the rock side a bit, so the rock-jam-band crowd gets us more than the hardcore country (crowd) does,” said singer and multi-instrumentalist Cody Braun. “But we love it when we can get up to play (Colorado) – it’s more of a fun, hippie-dancing crowd than back home.” “Back home” is Austin, Texas, a notorious melting pot of music that Reckless Kelly (named for Australian bank robber Ned Kelly) has called home for nearly 10 years. In that time, it has cultivated a riotous fanbase and released six successful albums; their most recent, “Reckless Kelly Was Here,” is a CD/DVD combo documenting one concert at Austin’s La Zona Rosa earlier this year. “We rehearsed and had one night to pull it off,” Braun said. “We planned it out and gave it a go – in the end, we were pretty comfortable with it. We could always cut something if it went wrong.”

If Braun sounds like a seasoned veteran, it’s because he is: He and his brother, Willy, who sings and plays guitar for RK, grew up in Idaho and Montana touring and playing with their father’s band, Muzzie Braun and the Boys. Before the age of 18, the Braun brothers logged months on the road and made appearances at both the Grand Ole Opry and on “The Tonight Show.” “Playing when you’re on your own is a whole different ballgame,” Braun said. “But all that experience was pretty valuable when you’re trying to figure out what your band will sound like and be as professional as possible. When we started our own thing, it gave us such a head start.” That head start gave the Cody brothers the experience to help keep their band together through even the lean years. Besides the Braun brothers, current band members include lead guitarist David Abeyta, drummer Jay Nazz and bassist Jimmy McFeely. “It really is all about communication and everybody being straight up with each other,” Braun said. “It’s like being married, pretty much; you’re either working out or fighting it out – though that part’s never fun.”

RK also maintains that line of communication with its fans, and they polled them to compose a setlist for the show. Favorite entries included crowd faves like “Hey Say May” and an innovative cover of The Beatles “Revolution.” “That’s on the CD but not on the DVD,” Braun said. “The rights for the DVD were just too expensive, but it was a blast to play.”The disc also includes new tracks “Break My Heart Tonight” and the whimsically titled “Wiggles & Ritalin” – which isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. “Some people think its a ‘drugs-are-fun’ party song, but it’s more of an anti-drug song than anything,” Braun said. “It’s not necessarily a personal story, but we saw some friends go through some things with drugs. Let’s just say parents who get their kids hooked on pills shouldn’t be surprised when they’re dealing pot in three years.”

Before RK heads back to play on its home turf, the Braun brothers are excited to breathe and play in the mountain air they grew up in.”We grew up hitting the mountain and skiing, so we love it when we can get up here,” Braun said. “We’ve never played Vail before, but it keeps it interesting for us to play as many new places as we can and meeting as many new people as possible.” Arts & Entertainment Writer Ted Alvarez can be reached at 748-2939 or Daily Vail, Colorado

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