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Reckless Kelly wears its musical skin well

The Sinclair, Cambridge, Mass., October 14, 2013

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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Reckless Kelly may not need to decide whether it's more of a country band or a rootsy outfit because based on their generous display live, they are quite comfortable with both parts of the musical spectrum.

Reckless Kelly started off with the harder, rootsy side of the Austin band's repertoire, beginning with Ragged as the Road and Save Me From Myself before launching into an extended take - a very fine one at that - on Alejandro Escovedo's Castanets.

Reckless Kelly was exceedingly content to stretch and extend the songs, something that happened quite often during the lengthy, 130-minute show. While almost always done to good effect from a musical standpoint, at some level, it also became predictable. Perhaps tighter renditions of the songs would have made them even better.

But there were enough twists and turns. For example, lead singer Willy Braun turned in a solo acoustic performance on Nobody's Girl.

The quintet played a chunk of the band's eighth studio album, "Long Night Moon," which came out last month. Highlights included Idaho and The Only Home I've Ever Known.

What was particularly impressive was the mandolin player, Kym Warner. If his name rings a bell, it's because he is really a member of The Greencards, not Reckless Kelly. But Warner filled in for ailing Cody Braun, who had surgery about three months ago and reportedly returned too soon to the stage. He played a few dates on the current swing before going home last week for further recuperation.

If Warner was a substitute, you certainly would not have realized that by his playing, which was most impressive throughout. Warner, who played with Reckless Kelly on a recent west coast swing, was not merely filling in the gaps, but scoring on a number of solos. In fact, Warner was a key element of the Reckless sound. When he commented to the soundman after the show that it was a good night of music, he was spot on.

Guitarist David Abeyta, who went to nearby Berklee School of Music, also was a force to be reckoned with whether going for a more rock oriented rootsy side or softer material.

Reckless Kelly has not been too easy to pigeonhole. Perhaps it was to their detriment in the big scheme career-wise, but no matter because at this stage, they wear their musical skins well.