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Reckless Kelly with special guest Tommy Townsend
Reckless Kelly
Tommy Townsend
Apr 2, 2019 at 7:00 PM
Doors open 6:00 PM
Ticket sales ended Apr 3, 2019 2:00 AM. Additional tickets may be available at the box office.
Understanding the virtuosity of Reckless Kelly requires the perspective of where the band has been. Cody and Willy Braun grew up in the White Cloud Mountains of Idaho. They moved to Bend, Oregon, and then migrated to that great musical fountainhead, Austin, Texas.
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The band’s co-founders and frontmen toured the country as part of their father’s band, Muzzie Braun and the Boys, as children. They performed on The Tonight Show twice. Their father taught his four sons a professional ethic – integrity, persistence, hard work and professionalism – honed over three generations. They overcame hardships, struggled for recognition, and learned the lessons of the trial and error that defined them.
- 18+ Show -
General : Genre: Alt. Country,Americana,Country
Reckless Kelly | 8:00 PM
Understanding the virtuosity of Reckless Kelly requires the perspective of where the band has been. Cody and Willy Braun grew up in the White Cloud Mountains of Idaho. They moved to Bend, Oregon, and then migrated to that great musical fountainhead, Austin, Texas.

The band’s co-founders and frontmen toured the country as part of their father’s band, Muzzie Braun and the Boys, as children. They performed on The Tonight Show twice. Their father taught his four sons a professional ethic – integrity, persistence, hard work and professionalism – honed over three generations. They overcame hardships, struggled for recognition, and learned the lessons of the trial and error that defined them.

In one sense, it’s remarkable in the way of any musician, athlete, or businessperson who bucks the odds.

In another, though, it’s utterly natural that Reckless Kelly, born in the dreams of the two Braun brothers and their heritage but nurtured in the bumpy road of maturity, became the very essence of Americana music in all its far-flung glory.

“We came along in that second wave of the movement,” Cody Braun says. “Son Volt’s album Trace had a major effect on us. People like Joe Ely, Ray Kennedy and Robert Earl Keen were always big supporters. Our goal was to make music that had a country vibe but a solid rock edge.”

In the end, all the recipe required was to just add water. Water facilitates life. It enriches the soul.

As Music Row magazine proclaimed, “In my perfect world, this is what country radio would sound like.”

“This” is Reckless Kelly.

The heartland gave the band authenticity. Musical lives honed its skill. Adversity instilled its persistence. Moving to Austin gave it wings to fly.

As kids, the Brauns – Cody, Willy, Micky and Gary – shared a stage with the likes of Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell and Merle Haggard. Micky and Gary Braun now helm their own band, Micky and the Motorcars. In Bend, Cody and Willy added drummer Jay Nazz, who brought with him his own unique experience.

“I had grown up in the Northeast, performing at clubs and weddings with my dad and brother from the age of 13,” Nazz recalls, “so, when I met Willy and Cody, we already had that in common. Both of our dads were musicians with a very similar kind of performing discipline. That helped us bond immediately.”

?The band took its name from the legend of Ned Kelly, the Australian highwayman, and the three moved to Austin in the autumn of 1996, where they carved a niche of their own. Early on, Keen, a Texas legend himself, took them under his wing and became their first manager. They listened, watched and interacted with the creative dynamos of the outlaw country scene – Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, Billy Joe Shaver, Guy Clark and others – and joined them in a redefinition of what contemporary country music had become. Theirs was gritty, hard-edged, uncompromising and convincing. They turned country music real again.

Willy Braun wrote half the songs of Millican, 1998’s self-released debut, in an abandoned school bus, where he had lived for six months in Bend. The effect of that album was to emblazon Reckless Kelly with a reputation as a band of no-nonsense insurgents that could raise the rafters while still retaining a heart and soul of honesty, soul and conviction.

They evolved, adding David Abetya, a graduate of the Berklee School of Music, on lead guitar in 2000. Kansas-bred bassist Joe Miller — who had grown up on a family farm before becoming a broadcaster at his college radio station and migrating to Austin – signed on 2012.

Reckless Kelly’s string of critically acclaimed albums – Under the Table and Above the Sun (2003), Wicked Twisted Road (2005), Bulletproof (2008), Somewhere in Time (2010), Grammy-nominated Good Luck & True Love (2011) and Grammy-winning Long Night Moon (2013) – set a standard of reliable excellence and commitment to an instinctive vision of Americana. No band exemplifies the broad genre better.

Independent? Oh, yeah. Doggedly so. Nothing demonstrates it more than the band’s path through a succession of prestigious record labels – Sugar Hill and Yep Roc, among them – en route to a label, No Big Deal, of their own.

For two decades, the band has toured coast to coast relentlessly. It has demonstrated its longevity in a world where trendy newcomers are proclaimed the Next Big Thing by spinning a couple pop hits. They disappear from the radar, doomed by the very fad that invented them. Not unlike the pioneers who preceded them on the western frontier where the Brauns were raised, they have forged their survival without compromise, combining hard work with a resolve that success is only satisfying when achieved by their own standards and definition.

The group’s new album, Sunset Motel, is, like all its predecessors, distinctive in its own way while true to form. Self-produced and recorded in Austin’s renowned Arlyn Studios (where Millican was made two decades ago) and mixed by Jim Scott (Rolling Stones, Dixie Chicks, Tom Petty, Sting, Roger Daltrey, Crowded House, et al.), it reflects Reckless Kelly’s attention to craft and continuity.

??Twenty years since its founding, Reckless Kelly continues to fight for wider recognition, secure in the knowledge that fans, critics and contemporaries will continue to sing its praises.

The songs hit one emotional peak after another: the infectious “Volcano,” the urgent “One More One Last Time,” the desperate desire that comes full circle in “How Can You Love Him (You Don’t Even Like Him)” and the bittersweet title track. With steady guitar drive and a series of insistent choruses, they all ring with power and conviction that make Sunset Motel a breathtaking listening experience.

“Willy wrote 30 or 40 songs for the new album and we cut about half of them,” Cody says. “We ended up using 13 of them, but there were still some good ones left on the cutting-room floor.”

Cody, Willy and Nazz have been constants since the beginning. Abeyta and Miller add their own wrinkles to a signature sound that remains intact. The populist following grows, but the band has also moved on to play in performing arts centers and listening rooms that provide more focused encounters.

“We’re at the point where we’re not content to be categorized as simply a party band anymore,” Willy says. “We would like folks to really hear these songs, to be able to hear the lyrics and appreciate the musicianship that goes into the arrangements. Yes, we still want our audiences to have a good time, but we also want to show that this is a real band with a cohesive attitude and a muscular backbone, as well. We don’t want to be pigeonholed as simply a Texas-based, beer-drinking, rowdy bunch of party boys. There’s a lot more to it than that.”

“This is a really good place to be,” Cody adds. “We’ve built a solid fan base, which gives us a nice safety net. At the same time, we can take things at a more leisurely pace because we can control our own destiny.”

Great bands know good music. They make it the way they like, confident that what they love, what excites them, will also gain traction with thousands and thousands, perhaps even millions, of passionate fans.

Reckless Kelly is, by the best possible definition, a great band.

Freedom to pursue its own destiny has always been at the center of the band’s ambitions. Their fate is as much in their own hands as is reasonably possible.

“We’ve toured extensively over the course of our career,” Cody says. “We’ve traveled front and back, up and down, across this country. Happily, we’re at a point where we’re not killing ourselves to pay the bills.”

That point liberates them to be true to their background, their heritage and, most importantly, themselves.

?“We’ve always been hands-on in terms of our marketing and our delivery,” Willy says. “The labels always gave us the freedom we asked for, but an A&R person doesn’t always know what’s best for the band.”

The fierce self-reliance and independent spirit keeps Reckless Kelly happy, appreciative and charitable. Their annual festival, The Braun Brothers Reunion, in Challis, Idaho, has been ongoing for 37 years now. They reunite with their brothers, Gary and Micky (and the Motorcars). The Brauns run it without major sponsors or outside promoters.

The band also hosts the yearly Reckless Kelly Celebrity Softball Jam to raise money for Austin-area youth charities, putting $300,000 in those coffers over the past seven years.

“It’s a great way to give back,” Cody says. “It’s great to be able to share our success in such a positive way.”

Collectively, they’ve played over 3,000 shows and traveled over 1,500,000 miles to 49 states.

Reckless Kelly is a great band with an apt name. The outlaw’s spirit pervades the ambiance. They are rugged individualists who dedicate themselves to advancing the state of their art.

They’re good guys, too. Their hearts dwell in the right places, and those are where the music follows. more >>>
Tommy Townsend | 7:00 PM
Country music needs a solid kick in the pants. And Tommy Townsend is the right guy to deliver it.

It’s happened before, you know. Forty-odd years ago an earlier gang of troublemakers had to knock some sense into the slicked-up boot scooters who had taken over the dance floor. Their names are legend now — Waylon, Willie, Kris. Their impact revitalized a genre that had lost touch with its rowdier roots.

But time passes and once again, to borrow a phrase from Ol’ Waylon, we need a change. That’s Tommy’s cue to sling on his guitar, crank it up and … well, the title of his new album says it all.

Turn Back The Clock is rough around the edges, full of attitude and proud of it. It draws a line in the dirt and dares us to cross it, to leave behind the weary tropes of commercial country and reclaim the muscle and spirit of the outlaw era.

Townsend’s connection to these forebears dates back to a family vacation when he was about 13. While driving to Panama City, Florida from northeastern Georgia, his uncle popped in an 8-track of the album Ol’ Waylon; by the time they reached the beach, Townsend was hooked.

Shortly after that, his parents took him to hear Jennings perform live, at Lanier Land Music Park. After the show, Mom and Dad talked their way past the Hell’s Angels security guards and into the backstage area, where he introduced his son to the man who would become Tommy’s inspiration and mentor.

Townsend was soon welcomed into the Jennings fold. He befriended Waylon’s wife Jessi Colter, their children and members of the Waylors, whose bassist Jerry Bridges and Waylon himself co-produced Townsend’s first solo session. They took him out on the road and even brought him up onstage now and then to play with the band. Tommy and Waylon spent time alone together too, talking about lessons learned from life and conveyed through songs.

These experiences were invaluable — and, as Townsend grew beyond his formative years, sometimes a hurdle too. “People still think of me as the young Waylon Jennings,” he says. “It took me a while to get past that and start finding out who I am as an artist.”

That process accelerated in his late teens as he began writing songs. While he doesn’t deny Jennings’ impact -- in fact, he acknowledges it gratefully — Townsend used it to nurtured his own artistry. These two facts of his musical life run separately: Since 2008 he has honored his musical hero by singing with Waymore’s Outlaws, whose lineup includes former Jennings sidekicks Bridges on bass, Richie Albright on drums and steel guitarist Fred Newell. In 2014 they hit the road, opening for Waylon’s son Shooter Jennings and then backing him through his set as well.

The more time they spent together on the road, the more Shooter recognized his friend’s uniqueness and sensed that he was ready to step out from his Waylon shadow. “He heard that I did his dad’s songs in my own way,” Townsend says. “That’s what Shooter liked about what I was doing with the band. Jessi Colter told me the same thing: ‘You’re not trying to sound like Waylon. You’re doing the songs in your own way.

After a series of shows, Shooter expressed an interest in producing an album on Townsend focused on Tommy’s electric rhythm playing. They began gathering songs, beginning with Brandi Carlisle’s “The Eye,” which Jennings heard as a great vehicle for Townsend’s voice. By December they had assembled a diverse list of originals and covers, unified by Townsend’s ability to deliver them with passion and insight, and started recording what is now Turn Back The Clock.

On this exceptional, much-needed solo debut, Townsend turns Steve Young’s “Renegade Picker” into a swaggering, hard-hitting honky-tonk anthem. By changing the lyric to reflect a male point of view, Townsend personalizes “Drinkin’” as no artists have other than its composer, Holly Williams. The magic of Gordon Lightfoot’s immortal “Sundown” deepens in a new, bluesy interpretation.

Townsend’s writing chops shine on two cuts. Heat simmers throughout his sensuous “Longest Day Of Summer” from the opening line: “Steam rises off the highway after a summer rain. She’s burnin’ up beside me, wiping the sweat away.” And more than any other song on Turn Back The Clock, “Plug The Jukebox Back In” spells out Townsend’s diagnosis for all that ails country music nowadays: “It’s an endangered species, a new dying breed, replaced by computers, iPods and CDs … Let’s welcome the future without losing the past.”

Turn Back the Clock comes together on the closing tune, a recreation of Waylon’s courtly, achingly romantic “Belle Of The Ball.” “I put several guitar tracks down, then Barny Robertson, who played with Waylon at the height of his career, played that same electric piano sound he used on the original. It was just me and Barny. When I played it for Shooter over my phone, he fell in love with it.”

And so it is, a perfect return to where Townsend began, to learning from the masters in order to chart his way across a landscape thirsty for musical nourishment. “I wanted Turn Back The Clock to do what Waylon did for me … and Conway Twitty, Vern Gosdin, Keith Whitley and Hank Junior. Take all of them, add a little Willie, throw them in a pot, cook ‘em up and what you get is me.”

A feast for the ears and for our country soul. more >>>
Ticket Prices

College Student Ticket at Door

$15

General Admission Ticket

$25

Reserved Table for 4 (MEZZANINE)

$160

Event Schedule

Tommy Townsend

7:00 PM

Reckless Kelly

8:00 PM