Reckless Kelly piles harmonies, fiddle, twanging guitar and other down-home touches high upon their rock. They do it well, writing more of open roads and mountain meadows than of honky-tonks and dark hollers — no surprise, since brothers Cody and Willy Braun grew up in Idaho and Oregon before moving the band to Austin, where they’ve put out four records.
Blue Rodeo is an apt comparison in the Dylan-influenced lyrical touches and majestic sweep of “Desolation Angels” and “Vancouver”. So to are the Eagles; on songs like “Willamina” and “You Don’t Want Me Around”, Reckless Kelly crafts choruses you want to sing along with, but they have a dark side as well.
From the opening acoustic guitar on “Angels”, Willy Braun puts “the rubber on the road” and catches a “midnight ghost” down the “western coast.” Cody Braun’s fiddle slowly climbs in and backs the pledge that “St. Theresa don’t you worry, we’ll make it on time.”
Willy, who writes the songs, has women on his mind, too. On the weary, gentle “Everybody”, he sees his girl everywhere he turns — on billboards, on a trolley, on every blue-or-green-eyed face in a bar. In the rocking “Let’s Just Fall”, he’s splitting to avoid a confinement where “white picket fences look a lot like iron bars.” On the flip side, “Nobody’s Girl” can’t open her heart for fear it’ll be taken for a ride. “Vancouver” is all about distance — emotional and real — as love blows apart and the only option left is to run: “Now I’m packing it up and I’m rolling out to Vancouver for some wasted youth and fresh set of lonely stars.”
This ain’t Hank or Buck, or anything real “alternative”; it’s just good country rock without schlock and gloss.