Reckless Kelly's next album
will be full of songs written by
Idaho singer-songwriter Pinto Bennett
Idaho. It's famous for potatoes, Boise State football and the quirky, yet delightful 2004 film, Napoleon Dynamite.
Add Reckless Kelly to that list...
Reckless Kelly - an Austin, Texas based band and one of the top acts in the Texas Music scene - started in their hometown of Stanley, Idaho, moved to Bend, Oregon and eventually headed south to their current home, Austin Texas 12 years ago.
Texas already comes to Idaho, when several Texas acts like Cross Canadian Ragweed and Randy Rogers Band play the Braun Brothers Reunion in Stanley - about 2.5 hours away from Boise - every August.
RK definitely hasn't forgotten its Gem State roots and in February, they'll bring a little bit of Idaho to Texas - with a new album of 12 songs (plus bonus tracks) written by their longtime friend, PInto Bennett.
"He's always been one of our favorite writers - He's kind of an old-school cowboy," said RK lead singer Willy Braun.
Willy Braun and his brother, Cody (another RK member) grew up in Stanley, along with their younger brothers -Micky and Gary of the popular Texas Music band Micky & The Motorcars - grew up listening to Bennett and his band, The Famous Motel Cowboys.
Hence, it's no surprise that RK has recorded a song, titled, "The Motel Cowboy Show."
I visited with Willy regarding the new project.
The Brauns' father, Muzzie Braun, is a friend of Bennett's, and both RK and M & TM have recorded Bennett songs.
RK has a definite alternative-country sound, but the album of Bennett covers will bring them closer to their country roots, said Willy Braun.
So why have few outside of Idaho (and super-dedicated Americana fans) never heard of Bennett?
Well, one explanation could be his song, "Ain't In It For The Money," which was covered by M & TM.
Regardless, Willy Braun is excited about the new album.
"It's a little more honky-tonk than our latest stuff. A bunch of classic country type of stuff with a a few rockers on there, too. It's a little more like the stuff we did 10 years ago. It was kind of fun to re-visit that honky-tonk side of the band. We've always wanted to expose Pinto Bennett to a wider audience. He's always had a bunch of great songs, and we've been huge fans of his for a long time."
The Brauns grew up on Texas Music like Guy Clark and Rodney Crowell and decided to make Austin their destination.
The members of RK worked part-time jobs in Austin for about six months until they could play music full-time. Willy recalls working as a cook at a Jamaican restaurant and busing tables at legendary Stubbs BBQ, among other jobs.
"We all made a pretty solid commitment. (Sometimes), someone had to get fired at their day job to play a gig. We ended up having to quit or pissing off our bosses. We were always playing (music) too much."
In Idaho and Oregon, RK played covers of Texas Music artists like Robert Earl Keen's "The Road Goes On Forever" - which fans loved. They realized that they couldn't do that once they arrived in the Lone Star State.
"We were probably more country when we first started out...we evolved over the years and played faster, louder stuff."
Willy said he loves being part of the Texas Music scene and that it's "stretching beyond Texas a little bit...it's fun to watch it evolve."