A Family Affair

Ten years ago, Reckless Kelly moved to Austin from Portland, Oregon. The roots-country, country-rock band marked the anniversary this year with a live CD and DVD release. It’s a good introduction to the band for newcomers, and an even better memento for anyone who has been to a live show.

Brothers Willy and Cody Braun founded Reckless Kelly and are joined by David Abeyta on lead guitar, Jimmy McFeeley on bass, and Jay Nazz on

Reckless Kelly
10:30pm Fri, Sep 8
Floore’s Country Store
14492 Old Bandera Road
Helotes Texas, 78023
$10adv/$12 day of show

drums. Willy plays guitar and sings, and Cody plays mandolin, fiddle, and harmonica. The brothers also share interview duties. Cody Braun was the lucky one available to talk by phone about live recordings, touring, and the long road to Ireland. But first things first: the new release.

Reckless Kelly Was Here was recorded May 31, 2006, at La Zona Rosa in Austin. Recording everything in one night means the DVD has some rough edges, Braun says: “There were a couple of things we would have changed,” he admits, “but all in all, I think that’s kind of the cool part about it. It is just the real thing.” The CD and DVD capture the feel of a show, and Braun says that’s what fans had been clamoring for ever since the band’s acoustic live recording in 2002.

The band has recorded music videos before, of course, but for Braun, this DVD is the first Reckless Kelly show he’s had a chance to see. “It was pretty cool to be able to sit and watch what everyone else was doing on stage and what the crowd was doing,” he says. “It’s definitely different. On a video you’re almost acting because you’re just lip-synching.”

Braun says the experience also highlights some things he’d rather not see again. “That’s probably why we don’t sit around and watch any of the old VHS videos of ourselves — because it gets pretty painful,” Braun laughs.

But Reckless Kelly isn’t afraid to let it all hang out. That’s why the band’s website has RK TV, a page for candid video clips. “It’s kind of a fun thing for people to go check out. It’s got a bunch of goofy videos on there, outtakes from the DVD,” Braun says.

In addition to old favorites and covers that the band has been performing at shows, the new live recording includes two new songs. Braun says, “We wanted to try and put something on there that would be a little bonus for the fans that had already heard us do the show a million times.” He adds that the studio recordings are also meant for radio play, in case programmers were put off by the live recordings. The strategy seems to have worked, because “Break My Heart Tonight,” which Willy wrote with his other brother — Micky Braun of Micky and the Motor Cars — has been getting lots of airplay on independent radio stations.

At live Reckless Kelly shows, the covers tend to be shameless crowd-pleasers, like “Guacamole,” which fans like to yell out. But the band also regularly performs an unexpected cover of Alejandro Escovedo’s “Castanets.”

“When we first moved to Austin, Alejandro was playing at the Continental Club every Sunday,” Braun explains, “and we lived right across the street, so we used to go over and watch him. Sometimes it was just him and the acoustic trio, the cello and the violins. A lot of times it was him and his rock-and-roll band. He’s just amazing. His band and everything was probably the best we’d ever seen. We worked up ‘Castanets’ just because we loved it, and soon it became a favorite of all of our fans. So hopefully we’ll turn some kids on to some good music.”

The Braun brothers come from a musical family, and toured with their father’s band, Muzzie Braun and the Boys. (Muzzie Braun had also performed in a band with his brothers.) That’s why Cody Braun sounds nonchalant when he details Reckless Kelly’s tour schedule. “We just got back from the Northwest, and we’ve been out to California three times this year. We went through Utah and Colorado on the way back from Idaho, and we’ll be heading out on a Southeastern tour, and then back out to California and the Northwest in October or November, probably hitting the Southeast and New Orleans and Atlanta.”

In a musical family, there are always instruments around. Braun recalls, “My dad actually got me a guitar and Willy a fiddle for Christmas one year. We goofed around with them for a year, then swapped. And Willy actually stopped playing guitar and started playing the drums, then eventually picked up the guitar again. Gary played harmonica and guitar and accordion, and Mickey played bass. Now he plays guitar. So everyone is kind of multi-instrumental.”

“We actually do a show that’s just the four brothers and Micky’s bass player Mark McCoy and we call ourselves the Rock Farmers. We do covers, just whatever we want to play. No Reckless Kelly or Micky and the Motor Cars. We just pretty much are available for private parties. We started the band just to save up enough money just so we could all go to Ireland. We’ve got a little fund that we just stick all the money we make into. When we get enough, we’re going to go to Ireland for a week and just run amok.”

Braun says they’re halfway to their goal. At the suggestion that playing some public shows might speed up the money-making process, Braun laughs and says, “I don’t know if we’re ready for the public yet.” For now, seeing Reckless Kelly is the best chance to catch at least two of the Braun brothers on the same stage.


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