Austin, Texas band Reckless Kelly has been making solid Americana-ish rock ’n’ roll records for more than a decade. They might never strike it rich, but Bulletproof seems to me to be their “moment.” Willy Braun’s songwriting has never been stronger, his Bakersfield-style vocals never more nuanced, and the band gets a bigger, and more varied sound on this record than ever, without ever forsaking their roots. Stand-out songs on this album include the timeless opening track, “Ragged as the Road,” and a beautifully arranged tribute to New Orleans called “Godforsaken Town,” which includes a haunting trumpet playing far in the background. The band’s guitarist David Abeyta told me that the trumpet part stemmed from a vision he had of the song sounding a bit like John Scofield’s Quiet: “Scofield did this sort of Gil Evans-style arrangement,” Abeyta says. “A lot of horn pads—a muted horn sound. I had it in my head, and I kept blocking out chords on the piano, but I couldn’t seem to get the idea across. We ended up putting a pump organ pad underneath with a low cello, an upper cello part and the trumpet, and it ended up giving the texture I was after.”
Check out Reckless Kelly clips at http://mixonline.com, and watch for more details about the making of Bulletproof in our print edition next month.
Producers: Reckless Kelly. Engineers: John Smerek and Adam Odor. Studios: Pedernales (Austin), House of David (Nashville), Stone Cringe. Mastering: Jim Demain/Yes Master (Nashville).