Reviews

Reckless Kelly Releases American Jackpot & American Girls


By Brian Rock

Reckless Kelly pens a love letter to America in their simultaneously released new albums, American Jackpot and American Girls. Lead vocalist Willy Braun explains that, “I wanted to tell stories of everyday life and the kinds of things that nearly everybody experiences growing up in this country.” With a topic that ambitious, it’s no wonder it took two albums to capture it all. Similar in tone and topic, and bundled together as a single CD, the two albums play more like a double album ala Exile On Main Street then two distinct projects capturing different moments in the evolution of the band. Consequently, choosing your favorite of the two will prove difficult as they are essentially cut from the same cloth. But since the fabric is such fine material, there really is no wrong choice.

“American Jackpot” focuses on the family and friends, heroes and hard workers who populate our individual American experiences. “North American Jackpot” reminds us that although our nation is not perfect, “we’re better off than any other place or time.” Urging us to keep things in perspective and enjoy the many blessings we have, they remind us that compared to most of the world, we’ve hit the “jackpot” just by being born in this land of freedom and opportunity. “Grandpa Was A Jack Of All Trades” is a heartwarming Country tribute to the greatest generation who fought to defend our freedoms. “Company of Kings” celebrates the nobility inherent in each of us. With pounding percussion and crunchy electric guitars softened by a gliding fiddle, Reckless Kelly reminds us that through, “good luck and bad luck, hard times and easy street, fortune and failure, dirt roads and concrete,” we are all connected. “42” is a Folk ballad tribute to the late, great Jackie Robinson. Then, cranking up the amps and going full throttle on the fiery rocker, “Mona,” they sing the praises of a “bad, bad girl.”

Equal parts John Mellencamp and Old 97s, Reckless Kelly perfectly straddles the line between Country and Rock. And Willy Braun’s throaty baritone is as warm and comforting as your favorite old pair of jeans. The band fleshes out their sound with Country, Rock and Folk influences adorned with harmonica, fiddle, piano, electric organ, and the occasional accordion. Reckless Kelly’s combination of voice, music and lyrics comes as close as possible to the very definition of Americana music.

“American Girls,” as the title implies, deals more with the idiosyncrasies of love and heartbreak in America. The title track is a jangly rocker that notes “there’s nothing like an American girl.” “Miss Marissa” is a touching Rock ballad to “the one that got away.” “Anyplace That’s Wild” is a Country Noir duet that celebrates living and loving on the wild side. “Lost Inside The Groove,” breaks out the salsa for a Mexicali dance party rolled up in a single song.

With a double dose of heart and harmony, Reckless Kelly puts the America in Americana with these two albums and continues to assert themselves as one of the primary artists of the genre.

recklesskelly.com  |   fb  |  buy

Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

Comments are closed.