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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

ROUTES & BRANCHES  
September 7, 2013
Scott  Foley

I don't think I've been surprised by a Reckless Kelly album since I first came across their music in another land long, long ago.  There's a part of me that requires a certain degree of surprise in my music, waking me from the stupor of too many "pretty good" records.  I suppose the only surprise on the Austin band's new Long Night Moon is the reminder of how smoothly their brand of alt.country/red dirt rock pours into the ears.  These are sing-a-long songs from the third or fourth listen, taking their rightful place alongside some of the band's earlier favorites.  I almost take the Braun brothers' harmonies for granted on tunes like "Girl I Knew"; voices this close can only come from the throats of blood brothers.  I also like to think I require some edginess to my music.  Excellent, workmanlike playing pervades the disc, but the guitars on "Every Step of the Way" offer the album's sharpest edge.  Reckless Kelly demonstrate that rare quality, capable of appealing to both country traditionalists and folks who need their music a bit more road weary.  Appropriate to its title, Long Night Moon arrives with a black-light flashlight and a gatefold package that reveals codes, messages and artwork when viewed in the light of that device (I found this delightful, and shared it immediately with my son Logan).  So let's see:  no surprises, only occasional edge, careful polish and superficial packaging tricks.  There's apparently no reason I should enjoy Reckless Kelly, but it all comes down to the appeal of their songs.  "Wicked Twisted Road", "Break My Heart Tonight", "Crazy Eddie's Last Hurrah".  Reckless Kelly wrote the book for our kind of music, and sometimes bands like this can get lost in the shuffle of pretenders and sound-alikes.  It's only after a couple listens that I recognized that the unassuming, mid-tempo title track is something that only Reckless Kelly can do so perfectly.

Special thanks to Colorado's Hezekiah Goode for joining us in the studio for some chat and a couple great live tunes.  Hez seems a truly nice guy, with a great ear for lyrics and a rare intelligence as well. 

*  Britton Deuel, "Living My Way"  Sky Between the Pines  (Self, 13)  C,D
*  Scud Mt Boys, "You're Mine"  Do You Love the Sun  (Ashmont, 13)
*  Bob Schneider & TX Bluegrass Massacre, "Lady Down On Love"  High Cotton: Tribute to Alabama  (Lightning Rod, 13)
*  Sara Petite, "Movin' On"  Circus Comes to Town  (Self, 13)
*  Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, "Hurricane Window"  Wassaic Way  (Self, 13)
*  Austin Lucas, "Small Town Heart"  Stay Reckless  (New West, 13)
*  John Doe, "Peggy Sue Got Married"  Rave On Buddy Holly  (Concord, 11)
*  Laura Cantrell, "Too Late For Tonight"  When the Roses Bloom Again  (Diesel Only, 02)
*  Two Cow Garage, "My Friend Adam"  Death of the Self Preservation Society  (Last Chance, 13)
*  Whiskey Bottles, "Fell In Love With a Stranger"  Grandville  (Self, 13)  C
*  Band of Heathens, "Caroline Williams"  Sunday Morning Record  (BoH, 13)
*  Rayland Baxter, "Bad Things"  ashkeLon  (ATO, 13)  D
*  Bonnie Whitmore, "Reckless and Young"  There I Go Again  (This is Amer Music, 13)
*  David Ramirez, "An Introduction"  Apologies  (Self, 12)
*  Hezekiah Goode, "Fence of Colorado Stone"  live in studio   C
*  Hezekiah Goode, "Shooter in the Tower"  live in studio   C
*  Hezekiah Goode, "I Need You To Walk Away"  live in studio   C
*  Son Volt, "Roll On"  American Central Dust  (Rounder, 09)
*  Those Darlins, "In the Wilderness"  Blur the Line  (Oh Wow Dang, 13)   D
*  Brian Wright, "Over Yet Blues"  Rattle Their Chains  (Sugar Hill, 13)   D
*  The Sadies, "Leave the World Behind"  Internal Sounds  (Yep Roc, 13)
*  Somebody's Darling, "Back To the Bottle"  Jank City Shakedown  (Self, 12)
^  Reckless Kelly, "Long Night Moon"  Long Night Moon  (No Big Deal, 13)   D
*  Star Anna, "Mean Kind of Love"  Go To Hell  (Self, 13)
*  Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers, "Til I'm Blue"  Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers  (Little Sur, 13)

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