“All I need is this old guitar, she’s seen a lot of miles and she makes me a livin’ but she ain’t made me a star,” – Reckless Kelly
SALT LAKE CITY — This weekend at The Depot, Reckless Kelly have two goals in mind: introduce their new album to Utah, and make up for their show in Salt Lake City earlier this year.
The veteran Austin-by-way-of-Idaho band released their 8th studio album this week, Long Night Moon. For the rockin’, Red Dirt, alt-country, Americana band, the album is a bit more mellow than their last release, 2011’s Good Luck & True Love.
“The songs have a little more space,” Cody Braun told the Deseret News during some rare, and brief, time off between tours at his home in Texas. “But there are a few good rockers on there.”
The band has been working on the new album since their last release. The record also includes a few songs that didn’t make the cut for Good Luck & True Love.
With only a couple of weeks off between tours, Reckless Kelly made sure they didn’t waste their studio time when they went to record the album.
“We move through it pretty quick. We usually try to do a week or of pre-production when we’re in the studio. Usually we’ll be working on close to 20 songs during that process just to figure out which songs we all like the best, which songs all come together and work together the best. So we do most of our ironing out stuff during that process. So when we get in the studio, we have a pretty good arrangement for the tunes and start plowing through them,” Braun said.
Singing about life on the road is nothing new for a band that plays between 200 to 250 tour dates a year. But the new album also finds the quintet tackling some of today’s social issues such as everyone being buried in their smart phones or social media pages, in the song “Be My Friend (In Real Life).”
Yet, for a band that has developed a hardcore following over its 15+ year career even though they remain on an independent record label and don’t get airplay on many mainstream radio stations, Braun said they have actually learned to embrace social media for self-promotion.
“We’re not a top 40 country band,” Braun said. “There’s not a lot of Americana shows and radio stations. It’s definitely been challenging trying to figure out how to promote records and get music to people these days because the old formulas really don’t work.
Reckless Kelly are also trying to find ways to keep album/CD buying interesting rather than just letting fans go straight to iTunes to get their new record. The packaging for Long Night Moon includes a black light, hidden messages and other glow in the dark features to keep it interesting. It was designed by the same folks who did the artwork for Good Luck & True Love, which ended by being nominated for a Grammy in the category of album artwork, Braun said.
This is the second time this year the band has played in Salt Lake City. In February, they played a high energy set at another downtown venue with one of their best set lists ever in Utah. Unfortunately, there were many other problems with the venue. Hundreds of fans were still outside the building trying to get in – despite being in line for over an hour – when the younger Braun brothers, Micky and Gary and the rest of Micky and the Motorcars took the stage. By the time older brothers Cody and Willy Braun and Reckless Kelly took the stage, it was wall-to-wall people inside.
“That was just a cluster. It was the wrong venue for the show. There were too many people,” Cody Braun said with a tone of frustration.
Braun said the band knew it was going to be a big crowd.
“Somehow that was lost in translation and they booked us in a small room, and obviously it was inadequate on many different levels, the PA and the size of the place…nothing went right,” he said, acknowledging the band was aware of many of the problems people in the audience were having. “It’s just not the way we want to treat our fans ever. It’s just one of those situations we hope to correct and do better next time.”
That next time is Saturday (for Micky and the Motorcars, it’s Dec. 28) at the much bigger and nicer Depot, a room Braun said the band wanted to play in February.
“We’re excited to be coming back,” he said, “Get some people back and redeem ourselves there.”