Reckless Kelly with special guest Jonathan Tyler - Night 2
Call it Reckless Kelly’s Last Hurrah.
From its roots as a barnstorming Idaho outfit to its modern-day status as a torchbearer for independent Americana music from coast to coast, Reckless has tied Austin rock and cowboy poetry together seamlessly for more than 25 years. Now, the band is slowly winding down its touring days.
Co-founders and brothers Willy and Cody Braun told Rolling Stone in late 2022 that Reckless will pare its touring schedule back to roughly 35 shows a year from 2023-35 before retiring from the road altogether. This alone is a major change for a group which has neared or exceed 200 shows a year for most of its career.
The reason for the long goodbye, according to the members, is to ensure fans have opportunities to catch more shows without the pressure a whirlwind farewell tour puts on both artist and audience.
“The coolest thing about our fan base is, we got them one at a time,” Willy — Reckless’s front man, says. “We didn’t go out there with one big hit or music video or one big tour. We literally got our fans on an individual basis. I’m pretty proud of that part: Once we got a fan, they stayed with us.”
Cody — who plays fiddle and mandolin — and Willy grew up in rural Idaho, near Stanley, in a family full of musicians. They are joined in Reckless by drummer Jay Nazz, bassist Joe Miller and steel guitar player Geoff Queen.
Before wrapping up on the road, Reckless plans to release at least one more full-length album — a follow to the double album American Jackpot/American Girls, which was released in spring 2020 just as the pandemic shut down live music and scuttled a release tour — and the band intends to announce multiple projects, big and small, between now and 2025.
Jonathan Tyler did the rock star thing. He played Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Hangout Fest and the Voodoo Experience. He performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and toured alongside AC/DC, ZZ Top, The Black Crowes and Kid Rock. His 2010 LP Pardon Me for Atlantic Records with backing band The Northern Lights reached No. 8 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart. It was everything he thought he’d wanted but ultimately, it wasn’t what would satisfy him. These days, Tyler really does come off as a changed man – in person and on record alike. He’s more introspective, more focused. Holy Smokes, his first solo release, finds Tyler shed of major-label constraints, removed from the guard of his Northern Lights backing band and bearing his soul as a songwriter who’s seen the top of the mountain and now seeks a different kind of climb, one filled less with flash and more with substance. The album’s an open look into who Tyler is at this very moment and, most of all, who he feels he’s always really been. “This is me,” Tyler says these days, with no wavering to be found in his tone.