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Reckless Kelly channels Earle for satisfying night

Royale, Boston, November 15, 2011

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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Steve Earle was nowhere to be found at the Reckless Kelly show, but make no mistake about it - his influence surely was felt. That's because RK lead singer Willy Braun and his compadres often channeled the Earle ghost in their music.

And by and large, that's a really good thing because like Earle, Reckless Kelly has a bunch of good, solid songs that go for a roots rock, sometimes country sound.

Reckless Kelly, with a solid, new "Good Luck & True Love" CD out, let the songs play out to their natural conclusion, not rushing them, but also not dragging them out. During the encore, She Likes Money, He Likes Love, drummer Jay Nazz and lead guitarist David Abeyta set the stage for awhile until the rest of the band kicked into the song with a driving beat.

Braun is a good singer with a lot of timbre in his vocal delivery. He didn't prove to be the most dynamic or engaging on this night with a few perfunctory comments. He pretty much let the music speak for him, and fortunately, that was sufficient on songs like their cover of Richard Thompson's 1952 Vincent Black Lightning or the close of the regular set, an Irish bent on Seven Nights in Eire.

On occasion, the drumming of Nazz tended to overwhelm the rest of the music. That meant the mandolin playing of Cody Braun (Willie's brother) sometimes flew under the radar screen, although his fiddle playing added a lot of spark to the songs.

Unfortunately, Reckless Kelly didn't devote a lot of the show to "Good Luck & True Love," playing about four songs.

But the Austin band closed with an encore that most definitely hit the mark, including a musical ghost of a different sort - Chuck Berry's Back in the U.S.A. The band cooked, Braun sang with a lot of heart, and after nearly two hours, the song proved to be a fine closer to a satisfying evening.