Tag Archives: Reckless Kelly

2010 Year In Review Part Deaux: Texas Music You Should Be Listening To!

As the saying goes, there must be something in the water!  There is something about the Texas music scene that defies typical musical conventions.  This, of course, comes as no surprise to the millions of Texas music fans.  The variety of music that hails from the great state is as expansive as the West Texas plains.  While Austin is known as the “Live Music Capital” of the world, there are plenty of fertile musical breeding grounds in Texas. 

 Today, I will WOW you with some of the musical greatness that came from or had ties to Texas in 2010. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, it is just a few of the albums that I have had in heavy rotation over the course of the last year. 

Artist Album Observations
Old 97’s The Grand Theatre Vol. 1 Dallas band gets back to their roots and write good music without trying to be anything more than they are.  After 17 years it is good to see them comfortable in their own skin.
Spoon Transference Not as much of gloss and a lot more rock is what make this album great.  Not shying away from the darker textures, Spoon creates a less poppy album and the laxity of Transference is the strength of the album.
Reckless Kelly Somewhere In Time A fine album of cover songs to their one time mentor Pinto Bennett. 
Roky Erickson & Okkervil River True Love Cast Out All Evil Concise production shapes the sorrow of the Austin icon Roky Erickson’s life and ultimately the optimism of his return.
Court Yard Hounds Court Yard Hounds 2/3 of the Dixie Chicks show that sometimes less is more.  Jakob Dylan adds his dusky dulcet tone for a quick duet.
Alejandro Escovedo Street Songs of Love The fierceness of the guitar and the bombastic instrumentation belie the emotional elements of the lyrics. 
Arcade Fire The Suburbs Currently Canadian, Butler boys do hail from the sterile Houston suburb known as the Woodlands.  This is a great album and also made my 2010 Year in review. 
Ryan Bingham Junky Star Former rodeo star hits the big time with Golden Globe and Oscar win and a current Grammy Nomination for his work on the “Crazy Heart’ soundtrack.  His 3rd album is no fluke either.  His whisky and cigarette vocals are the perfect vehicle for his forlorn tales. 
Randy Rogers Band Burning the Day One of the hardest working bands in the state.  Over 200 dates over the past years.  Still time to record and release their 5th album.
Norah Jones …Featuring Norah Jones The list of collaborators is what makes this album genius.  You have the rap community represented with Talib Kweli Q Tip, and Outkast, the rock genre is fortified by Foo Fighters, and Ryan Adams is a genre chameleon so several are covered with his efforts.  Also, Willie Nelson adds his own brand of greatness.
Walt Wilkins Agave A true Texas troubadour.  No one does it better then Walt.  The words of a poet delivered honey sweet with a calm, familiar feel.  Need to see him live if you ever have the chance.
Tommy Alverson Texas One More Time With a twinkle in his eye, and a beer in his hand, Tommy makes music that makes you feel fine.  When Tommy sings, it feels like a warm summer night and for that moment you are carefree.  Highly recommend you see him live, you won’t regret it.
Six Market Boulevard Running On Seven I caught these boys live one Sunday afternoon at a local barbeque joint.  Nice, strong debut album.
Mike Ryan The First One Great voice, laid back attitude, and interacts with his fans.  Ballsy covers of Lenny Kravitz and Conway Twitty.  Need to see him live to fully appreciate his brand of greatness.
Bruce Robison From the Top Amazing songwriting that has made many country artists famous.  This album finds him paired with Rodney Crowell and it is an effort steeped in simplicity.  When you write as well as Bruce, you don’t need to add a lot of fluff.

 Great music awaits!


2010 Year In Review: Music You Should Have Been Listening To!

Well, 2010 was quite the year!  Everyone got a little older but ladies, you don’t look it!  In spite of continued political divide, the yet to rebound economy, and little oil spill in the Gulf, 2010 was a pretty great year in music.  Not for the industry as a whole (canceled tours, decline in both digital and CD sales, etc…), but in terms of the output from various artists it was a pretty fine year.  Hell, the Beatles finally capitulated to the masses and released their catalog on iTunes!  Back the Brinks truck up boys, we are cashing in!

Here is my annual review of what I thought, and thereby, was good in the world of music in 2010.  If it did not make the list, it means I did not get a chance to listen to it, or it sucked.  It is entirely possible that some music got by me this year.  It is more likely that the music I did not listen to was not listenable and therefore sucked.

In all seriousness, this is a compilation of 50 albums that were released in 2010 that got a lot of play in the many places where I listen to music.  All of these albums I own and were in heavy rotation throughout the year.  These are by no means the only albums released or that I purchased in 2010 but the ones I found myself digging a little more than some of the others.

The albums listed below are in no particular order of greatness but are all great in their own unique musical way!  See, look at that, I’m being mindful of the feelings of the artists that will never read this blog and perpetuating the “everyone is a winner”, feel good schlock that has helped raise and create a whole generation of entitled whiners and, I digress.

So sit back and peruse the gentle musing of what made my musical pants go crazy this year.

Artist Album My Annotations
The Black Keys Brother This album and all of their other albums rock.  This band consists of 2 white dudes from Ohio who sound like a symphony of veteran bluesman that caught wind of some funk.  Pure greatness!
Arcade Fire The Suburbs Nice way to come back from a 3 year break!  This album and this band is what is right with music today. Sprawling music, musicians that actually play instruments, and have something meaningful to say!
Jamey Johnson The Guitar Songs Jamey tried the clean cut “new” country way and realized that it was not going to work for him.  So, he followed the Johnny Cash 101 course and gave in to vice and temptation, grew a crazy beard and wrote about his life.  This double disc is pretty aggressive for this relative newcomer but he pulls it off and we are better for it.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Mojo Great new disc from the Heartbreakers and another great album from start –finish for Tommy Boy.  After 30 years I am amazed that he can still bring it like he does.  Petty has a way of always taking me back to the halcyon days of high school.  Props to the folks from 75115!
Drive-By Truckers The Big To-Do I love DBT and this album is no exception.  While Jason Isbell is missed, they are able to carry one and make some damn fine music.  The stories that they create are usually good for a laugh or two until you realize that most of them come from real life events. 
Fistful of Mercy Fistful of Mercy The musical triumvirate of Ben Harper, Joseph Arthur, and Dhani Harrison.  Great harmonies and acoustic instrumentation. 
Bruce Springsteen The Promise This 2 disc set is the lost tracks to the Darkness on the Edge of Town session.  That period was pretty prolific for the Boss and it is funny how 30+ years later the music is still relevant.  Hats off to you Bruce and the E Street Boys.
Eminem Recovery Dropped off the face of musical earth and did a death spiral and realized that he had more music to make.  While not as aggressive and misogynistic as his earlier work, Recovery shows that he still has skills.
The Dead Weather Sea of Cowards Jack White is pure greatness and this sophomore effort from one of his many side projects does not disappoint. 
The National High Violet Not exactly a “pick me up” kind of band but the drama and melancholy is balanced by the somber vocals and tight instrumentation. 
Band of Horses Infinite Arms Indie music darlings come back with a full group for their third album.  Their sound is familiar but they do explore some new lyrical territory. 
Neil Young Le Noise Neil Young and his eclectic ways paired + Daniel Lanois production expertise = genius. 
Kings of Leon Come Around Sundown These guys make consistently good music.  It is unfortunate that their previous release was embraced by the masses and oversaturated the airwaves.
 Kid Rock Born Free Say what you will about the Kid, but when he stays close to the classic rock of our youth, he makes entertaining music.
Joe Purdy 4th of July The best indie act out there today.  Releases all of his material on his own with no major label support, gets little or no radio play, and tours in places that hold 200-300 people.  He is amazing. 
Joe Purdy This American See above
The Gaslight Anthem American Slang New Jersey band channeling the musical spirit of Springsteen with a little punk rock spin.  Further proof that good things come from the Garden State!
Spoon Transference Spoon continues to make moody not quite pop music.  This is their 7th album and is a great showcase of their formidable musical chops.
Gorillaz Plastic Beach Cartoon characters that get the likes of DeLa Soul, Snoop Dogg, and Lou Reed to guest on their album.  What more can I say?
MGMT Congratulations The sophomore album from the trippy, somewhat psychedelic duo.  As good as their stellar debut and clearly shows that these boys have some skills.
Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Despite the petulant attitude, knack for opening mouth and inserting foot, Kanye knows how to mix and mingle the tracks, samples and artists.   Not sure I like liking him but hard to ignore.
Robert Plant Band of Joy Golden Rock god pays go pre-Zeppelin days and does some pretty sweet covers of American music such as Townes Van Zandt, Low, and Los Lobos.
John Mellencamp No Better Than This This live mono recording of his latest was done in various parts of the country such as a Georgia church, San Antonio hotel room, and a Memphis recording studio.  Mr. Happy Go Lucky strikes again!
Broken Bells Broken Bells James Mercer (The Shins) and super producer Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley) team up for an awesome debut album.  Hopefully they will find time to make more music.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Beat the Devil’s Tattoo Cool, scary band name with cool scary album name.  I’ve been a fan for years and like how they have evolved.
Marc Cohn Listening Booth:1970 Great covers of 70’s song.  Nice to see him back in the booth.
Josh Ritter So Runs The World Away Quite the word smith.  Sparse musical compositions are the foundation for the subterranean concepts of the album.
Flobots Survival Story Rock-Rap with the instrumentation of a viola!  Politically charged lyrics with deft delivery and did I mention the viola? 
The Rescues Let Loose The Horses Four part harmonies that flawlessly flow throughout the album.  Lingering, soothing lyrics that are both exploratory and meaningful.  Great debut album.
Jack Johnson To The Sea Feel good music in the laid back Jack Johnson style.  Not breaking new ground which is not necessarily a bad thing. 
Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise 4th studio album for the whiskey soaked and smoky voiced troubadour and this time he is backed by a true, professional band.  This album, like all the rest is best when his dulcet tone has room to breathe.
Mumford & Sons Sigh No More Further proof that harmonies were all the rage in 2010.  This London quartet’s debut album is closer to folk than just about anything on this list.  Not sure how the English captured Americana but more power to them.
The New Pornographers Together The large Canadian bands 5th album is a nice blend of vocals and instrumentation.  Will Sheff of Okervil River, Zach Condon of Beirut, and some Dap Kings (the horn players) all make appearances on the album.
The Black Crowes Croweology The Crowes version of “Best of” with 2 discs worth of tracks.  Nice acoustic versions of their catalog.  This is the last release before their next breakup/hiatus.  Damn sibling rivalries!
LCD Soundsystem This Is Happening The 3rd and reportedly final album from the dance/rock kings. 
Of Montreal False Priests An eclectic blend of funk, synth, and sing along chorus.  Lyrically odd at times, the songs seem to be better crafted then some of their other work.
Sleigh Bells Treats Drums, guitars, and a little hip hop are hard to beat.  This band is not easy to define but certainly fun.
Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Song of Chico Dusty One half of the rap duo OutKast, Big Boi shows his considerable skills on his solo album.  Solo album is a loose term considering that T.I., Gucci Mane, George Clinton, Jamie Foxx, B.o.B, and Too Short are just a few of the folks that appear on the album.
The Hold Steady Heaven Is Whenever Not as commercially known as some of the other bands on this list but just as good, if not better than some.  Think heartland rock with Brooklyn attitude.
Eels Tomorrow Morning The 2nd of their albums to be released in 2010, this one is a little more upbeat.  The addition of keyboards and strings is a nice touch.  It seems that E might have just a glimmer of happiness in his life.
Weezer Hurley With co-writers like Ryan Adams, Mac Davis, and Linda Perry, this album twists and turns in many musical directions.  All of them good!
Vampire Weekend Contra Sophomore album for the Paul Simon channeling group is not a drastic departure from their first.  The formula works. 
Ozomatli Fire Away As diverse as band as there is, these LA boys mix in the rap, Spanish horns, and a bit of Ska to completely blow you away. 
Street Sweeper Social Club The Ghetto Blaster EP Tom Morello of Rage fame and Boot Riley release this angry, politically driven EP.  Not so angry that they can’t cover LL Cool J’s Mama Said Knock You Out and MIA’s Paper Planes. 
The Avett Brothers Live Volume 3 This album was recorded in 2009 shortly after the major label debut.  It covers several great tracks from their previous indie label albums.  This is a band best served live.  Might make my Top 10 Live Album List.
Joe Pug The Messenger Great acoustic folk music.  Lyrically sound and great from start to finish.  He is one of the great finds of 2010 for me.
Jakob Dylan Woman + Country The still Wallflowerless Dylan’s 2nd solo album is as solid as anything he has ever done.  Neko Case also appears on the album.
Matt Costa Mobile Chateau Jack Johnson’s protégé’s third release is a mixed bag of upbeat tempos and California pop with a helping of soulful piano and surprising depth.
Elton John and Leon Russell The Union Clash of the aging titans!  Hard to believe that after 40 years of divergent paths, these two make an album that leaves you wondering why it did not happen sooner.
Reckless Kelly Somewhere In Time This album is a 12 track homage to the band’s early mentor and Americana singer/songwriter Pinto Bennett.

Music you should have listened to last month but can now watch!

Greetings music fans,

Today I will highlight the artists from last month and give my selection for their best album and song. 

This may seem like a copout blog, and it kind of is.  But, with good reason, we became foster parents to three endearing and for the moment, little puppies on Saturday, and they necessitate and deserve more attention than you!  Just kidding, you too deserve some attention, but this is as good as it gets today.  However, I did pull video for each song selected.  That should count for something!

Last month’s featured artists, in no particular order:

Artist Best Album Best Song
The Avett Brothers I and Love and You Ten Thousand Wordswww.youtube.com/watch?v=Gt6k8htvc9k
Bruce Robison Wrapped My Brother & Mewww.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3q8ShBkqBI
Counting Crows August and Everything After Anna Beginswww.youtube.com/watch?v=1tY9SNFAK2I
Doyle Bramhall II Jelly Cream So You Want It to Rainwww.youtube.com/watch?v=N52cpz6NJ_4
Drive By Truckers Brighter Than Creations Dark Gravity’s Gonewww.youtube.com/watch?v=BHnbiiPoMSU
G. Love & Special Sauce Philadelphonic Rainbowwww.youtube.com/watch?v=5glVe3BmjmM
James McMurtry Childish Things We Can’t Make It Herewww.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbWRfBZY-ng
Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard One Fast Move or I’m Gone Big Surwww.youtube.com/watch?v=NNIWA5esH4o
The Jayhawks Smile Bluewww.youtube.com/watch?v=GUVVGQjWFg4
Josh Ritter The Animal Years Wingswww.youtube.com/watch?v=X3OiUUEzwwI
Mason Jennings Boneclouds Fighter Girlwww.youtube.com/watch?v=ABfK9zajLdo
My Morning Jacket Z One Big Holidaywww.youtube.com/watch?v=_0Q9iAcPjzc
One Day as a Lion One Day as a Lion Wild Internationalwww.youtube.com/watch?v=6mKtt7F0rPU
Reckless Kelly Under the Table and Above the Sun Let’s Just Fallwww.youtube.com/watch?v=mW5uP8aYZsk
Robert Earl Keen Walking Distance Shades of Graywww.youtube.com/watch?v=eEgY93WECEc
Ryan Adams Gold Wonderwall (Cover)www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6xX6ZE16PI
Silversun Pickups Swoon There’s No Secrets This Yearwww.youtube.com/watch?v=Qbz-SqEd7JQ
Them Crooked Vultures Them Crooked Vultures Scumbag Blueswww.youtube.com/watch?v=2M53SxSLHYk
The White Stripes Icky Thump Seven Nation Armywww.youtube.com/watch?v=xi8KdTk0u0g
Wilco Being There Sunken Treasureswww.youtube.com/watch?v=j_GQWm35Ndo

 

Great music waits!


You should be listening to Reckless Kelly!

Reckless Kelly is the rocking alt/country Austin based band via Bend, Oregon, where they originally formed, but moved to Texas as quick as they could.  The band was organized and helmed by Braun brothers, Cody and Willy.  Their father happened to have a western swing band, Muzzie and the Boys, where the boys cut their early musical chops. 

Reckless Kelly’s debut “Millican” was released in 1998 and the title is a reference to Millican Oregon.  The album has one of my favorite songs “Drink Your Whiskey Down”.  In 2000 they released two albums “Acoustic: Live at Stubbs”, a great Austin barbeque joint, and “The Day”.  The live album features covers of Bob Dylan (Subterranean Homesick Blues), AC/DC (You Shook Me All Night Long), and Led Zeppelin (Whole Lotta Love).

In 2003 they switched labels and released “Under the Table and Above the Sun” on Sugar Hill Records who have had such high profile artist as Robert Earl Keen, James McMurtry, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, and Townes Van Zandt to name a few. They followed up with 2005’s “Wicked Twisted Road” which had three singles “These Tears’, “Stick Around”, and “Baby’s Got a Whole Lot More” that broke the Top 10 on the Texas Music Chart.  In 2006 the live CD/DVD “Reckless Kelly Was Here” was released

In 2008 they again switched labels (Yup Roc Records) and released “Bulletproof” which the band taking umbrage with the current sociopolitical landscape.  The single “Ragged as the Road” peaked at #1 on the Texas Music Chart. 

Reckless Kelly Discography:

  • Millican
  • Acoustic: Live at Stubbs
  • The Day
  • Under the Table and Above the Sun
  • Wicked Twisted Road
  • Reckless Kelly Was Here
  • Best of the Sugar Hill Years
  • Bulletproof
  • Somewhere In Time

Top 5 Reckless Kelly Songs: (in no particular order)

  1. Let’s Just Fall (Under the table and Above the Sun)
  2. Drink Your Whiskey Down (Millican)
  3. Baby’s Got a Whole Lot More (Wicked Twisted Road)
  4. May Peace Find You Tonight (Under the table and Above the Sun)
  5. American Blood (Bulletproof)

Their music is typical alt/country with guitars (acoustic, electric, & occasional steel), bass, fiddle, mandolin, harmonica, and drums.  They have a surprising pop sensibility with catchy hooks and well crafted songs.  It is their ability to take tired themes (love, loss, redemption, etc…) and rejuvenate them with a fresh sound that is a combination of their musical prowess and the gruff, weathered vocal styling of Willy Braun.  They are known for their straight forward musical approach, the connectivity and energy of their live shows, and the fierce loyalty of their fans

Check out Reckless Kelly at www.recklesskelly.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpUXrDrUfDM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko2BRa5o_84

Great music awaits!


Live albums you should be listening to!

The live album is always a risky proposition.  In years past, it was the other give up album (hello Greatest Hits) that was done to fulfill the contract with the record company.  Not to say that there have not been great live albums but there have been some less than stellar albums that have not quite stood the test of time (“Frampton Comes Alive” anyone?). 

 I think, as music has progressed, the live album was a great way for bands to better connect with their audience.  Some bands have earned the reputation as a great “Live” band and the live album was just an obvious avenue for them.  Artists like Phish and The Dave Matthews Band have more live albums in their discography than studio albums.  In 2000 Pearl Jam, in an attempt provide their fans with a better quality and affordable live recording, recorded all of their concerts. 

 So, here is a list of great live albums.  This is by no means a list of the greatest live albums, but merely an installment of great live albums.

Metallica S&M 

This album features Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony.  Such a brilliant merging of two seemingly polar opposites sounds and styles.  The set list takes a bit from each of the early works as well as their late 90’s work.  Definitely worth adding to your collection.

Tom Petty Live Anthology

This album is a compilation of thirty years of live concerts.  Petty is timeless and the music is amazing.  Radio staples such as “Refugee”, “American Girl”, and “Free Falling” are comfortably arranged around deeper cuts like “Louisiana Rain”, “Angel Dream (No.2)”, and “”Straight Into Darkness”.  The covers on this four disc set are a real treat including The Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil” and Fleetwood Mac’s ”Oh Well”. 

The Dave Matthews Band The Central Park Concert

This is a three disc set that is a typical Dave Matthews jam session with the usual song suspects in the lineup and has a great cover of Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” with Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers & Govt. Mule) and Dave sharing the vocals.  It is not overly produced or reworked so you get more of the raw concert sound and vibe. 

 Ben Harper Live from Mars

If you are going to own one Ben Harper album, this is the one.  This two disc set is a great cross section of his work as well as covers of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”, Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” and The Verve “The Drugs Don’t Work”.

Counting Crows Across A Wire Live in New York

This two disc set is actually two separate concerts.  Disc one is an acoustic set while disc two cranks up a bit electrically.  The set list is comprised of songs from their first two albums “August and Everything After” and “Recovering the Satellites”. 

Undone: A Musical Tribute to Robert Earl Keen

This two disc live album has great covers of Keen’s music by the likes of:  Walt Wilkins, Wade Bowen, Randy Rogers, Reckless Kelly, Chris Knight, Cody Canada (Cross Canadian Ragweed), and Max Stallings.  Robert also appears on the last few song son disc two. 

Alice in Chains Unplugged

This album captured the essence and greatness of the late, great Layne Staley.  All acoustic (hence the unplugged) set that include “Would”, “Angry Chair”, and ‘The Killer is Me”.  This was one of the final performances of the original band. 

Chris & Rich Robinson (The Black Crowes) Brothers of a Feather

This two man acoustic set is the brothers and their guitars at their greatest.  The album is a variety of cuts from their shows at the Roxy Theater.  It features songs from The Black Crowes and a few cover tunes.  My favorite tracks are “Thorn in My Pride” and “My Heart is Killing Me”. 

Rage Against the Machine Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium

Great album recorded during their last two shows in September 2000.  The intensity of the album lasts al sixteen tracks.  Standout tracks on the album are “No Shelter”, “Bulls On Parade”, “Bomb Track”, and “Killing In the Name of”. 

Pearl Jam Live (any of the band produced live albums)

In an effort to better connect with the fans and provide quality and affordable live recordings Pearl Jam recorded a series of concerts in the early 00’s.  Sets often included “Crazy Mary”, “State of Love and Trust”, covers of Neil Young’s “Rockin in the Free World”, Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War”, The Who’s “Baba O’Riley”.  So, take your pick as any of the live series is a treasure.

Dispatch All Points Bulletin

This two disc set is the final farewell concert that was held in Boston that had over 100,000 fans in attendance.  It is the subject of the DVD “Last Dispatch.  This album has an early version of the State Radio song “Riddle In Londontown” and a fan sing along to the Dispatch tune “The General”.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Live in New York City

Amazing two disc set that at the time of release has two new and unreleased songs “Land of Hopes and Dreams” and “American Skin (41 Shots)”.  Both stellar songs but in my opinion, “Youngstown” is the gem of this album. 

Paul Simon’s Concert In the Park

This live recording was done in New York’s famous Central Park on August 15th 1991. The album opens with one of my all time favorite Simon songs “The Obvious Child”.  He also covers the Simon and Garfunkel period with “The Boxer”, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and closes the set with “The Sounds of Silence”.  This concert also featured many of the South American and African musicians that played on “Rhythm of the Saints” and “Graceland” respectively.

Rush Different Stages

It is a three disc set that covers several of their concerts in 1994 and 1997.  Disc three is a concert in London from 1978.  They cover quite a bit of their catalog but the one glaring omission is “Mystic Rhythms

 Bob Dylan The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration

This tribute concert was a star studded event with performances from: John Mellencamp, Kris Kristofferson, Stevie Wonder, Lou Reed, Eddie Vedder, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, George Harrison, The Band, and Roger McGuinn to name just a few!  While all of the performances were amazing, Eddie Vedder and Mike McCready’s cover of “Masters of War” was the highlight of the show. 

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Great Music Awaits!