"My first love was a wicked twisted road,
"I hit the million mile mark at seventeen years old
"I never saw the rainbow, much less a pot of gold
"Yeah, my first love was a wicked twisted road."
Reckless Kelly's new CD, "Wicked Twisted Road," rocks like they never have before on a recording. That doesn't mean the Austin quintet doesn't rock in person, live. They surely do that. But this new album brings their talents to full force. It rocks with ballads, country twists and folkie turns. Two of the songs--"These Tears" and "Seven Nights in Eire"—are all we've come to expect from the band. Beautifully made, the new CD also boasts a Southern rock tune, "Wretched Again," the swingy "Motel Cowboy Show" and "Dogtown" boast twisted lyrics with a perfect roots rock edge.
"We had a good time making that one," Cody Braun said. Cody and his brother Willy front the band but it's a harmonious bunch that clearly enjoys each other's company.
The band includes Dave Abeyta on acoustic, electric, slide and 12-string guitars; Cody Braun on fiddle, acoustic and electric mandolins, backing vocals and harmonica; Willy Braun on lead vocals, acoustic, electric and high strung guitars, percussion, harmonium, piano, mellotron; Jimmy "Jam" McFeeley on bass and Jay Nazziola on drums and percussion.
Another aspect of the talented group is the homemade films that it airs on its Web site, under the RKTV banner.
Since McFeely's birthday is in June, there are four films highlighting the bass player, called "Jimmy Jam June," including "Jimmy Goes Jogging" and "Jimmy Goes Rock Climbing." To know McFeely is to be tickled just by the idea.
Meanwhile, the band is hosting the Reckless Kelly Wild West Music Fest Sunday, June 19, at the Hailey Rodeo Grounds. They will be joined by the senior Braun, Muzzie, himself a long time country music artist who lives near Stanley; Micky and the Motorcars, which has the other two Braun boys, Gary and Micky, as members, and comic country musician Kip Attaway. The Motorcars have got a little bit for everyone.
"We've been thinking about a way to do an outdoor show in the valley," Cody said. "We're here at the end of the summer but we like to split it up a bit. It's a good time to do it. We've been playing in the Sun Valley area for long enough and we've outgrown the bars a bit. The idea was to get everyone in (the venue) that wants to get in."
This may be the first but hopefully not the last of the Reckless Kelly headlined summer shows. Cody mentioned a few musicians they'd conceivably coerce up here in future years: Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jack Ingram and Jason Boland and the Stragglers.
"There're a ton of bands to come up and it'd be great for them to build up a little following out here. The gigs are few and far between with lots of driving. Denver to Salt Lake to Boise is a lot of driving."
The Brauns, raised touring with a small family outfit, obviously understand the art of helping out friends with similar needs and concerns. Getting this festival off the ground has been helped by having the pater familias, Muzzie, nearby. He's been handling the logistics and since the concert is on Father's Day they hope to honor him at the same time.
"Hopefully, the weather will cooperate, and we help out the fire department and all will be great."
The Wood River Fire & Rescue is supplying the food and will benefit from the proceeds.
While on tour, "We've been playing a lot of the new stuff, everyone always picks out their favorites."
I mentioned how much I enjoy "Wretched Again" and he laughed. "The white trash chick singers really tied that together. Yeah, we're trying to do new stuff and keep it interesting for us as well as the audience."
What's the difference between playing on home territory like the valley and playing in Texas? "It has some small differences," he said without hesitation. "For one thing, the size of the crowds. I dig the crowds in Idaho. It's more of a hippie shuffle style. Texas crowds are cool and more schooled in the world of dance. If they can't two step to it, they don't dance."
Wild West Music Fest
Reckless Kelly's Wild West Music Fest is from 1-7 p.m., Sunday, June 19. Tickets are available at the gate for $15 for adults. Lawn chairs will be permitted. Seating is in bleachers. No coolers will be allowed but food and beverages are available inside from Wood River Fire & Rescue. Gates open at noon.