Five Questions with Reckless Kelly’s Willy Braun

RK_0351-black (Small)As mentioned a couple days ago (in a post that has now been updated with ticket winners), Red Dirt institution Reckless Kelly is bringing its Livers of Steel Tour with Micky & the Motorcars and Wade Bowen down the west coast this week. We caught up with frontman Willy Braun by email from somewhere in Oregon, as the tour blazes toward its first California stop in Sacramento on Wednesday. The rest of the Livers of Steel tour dates can be found here.

Tell us about Long Night Moon, the new record you have coming out next month.

It’s our tenth album, and we’re pretty psyched about it! We recorded it in Austin and it’s pretty much the classic Reckless Kelly sound, if there is such a thing. There’s a definite traveling theme throughout the record and most of the songs were written or conceptualized on the road. We tried some new ideas, arrangement-wise, and did a few things we’ve never done on an album before. I think it works. We’ll be playing some of the tunes on this run for the first time live.

You spent this past weekend at the annual Braun Brothers Reunion Festival in Challis, ID. Having built the Reckless Kelly name in Oregon and then Austin over the last couple decades, where do you see the Idaho sensibility or influence in your music today?

Cody and I have definitely been influenced by Idaho, both musically and personally. We grew up listening to Idaho pickers like our dad [Muzzie Braun, of the Braun Brothers and Muzzie and the Boys], Tarwater, Pinto Bennett and Kip Attaway. It’s a pretty unique sound and approach to making music and some of that has found its way into the Reckless Kelly sound.

A lot of the songs on the new album are about traveling, as I mentioned before, and a lot of them were worked on or finished at my place in Idaho. We even have a song called “Idaho” on there and a couple others that hint at getting back there. I’m so turning into my father…

I noticed that your Livers of Steel Tour with Micky & the Motorcars and Wade Bowen ends in Albuquerque. Have you all ever thought about getting into the meth business?

Ha, no, we’ll leave that to the pros. But we’re all pretty big “Breaking Bad” fans, so we may have to take a tour of some of the locations… and perhaps a YouTube parody is in order. Stay tuned.

A few years back, Reckless Kelly released a great tribute to a relatively little-known singer-songwriter named Pinto Bennett. If you all had to agree, today, to do a similar tribute to another one of your idols, who would be in the running?

Our dad would be, for sure. Steve Earle is a huge influence on all of us, so that could happen… although it’s unlikely we’d do another tribute album. We’re actually doing a live tribute to Tom Petty at a cool theatre in New Braunfels, TX, next February. The hardest part will be picking the songs. We could wind up playing for hours and still leave great tunes on the cutting room floor. I’d chop off a couple fingers for his catalogue. I saw him play in Austin and he did “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” second. Most guys would save a hit that big for the third encore. Must be nice.

You’re doing five days in California, including stops in San Francisco and LA. Any particular sights or attractions you like to hit on your swings through the state?

Hard to list them all, but here’s a few from the RK guidebook:

Tadich Grill in San Francisco is our favorite place to eat in the world. Check it out and thank us later.

The Gold Dust Lounge is also a great spot for an afterparty in San Fran. Hop into the slanted door for a cocktail and a buena vista for an Irish coffee. If that’s too ‘touristy’, then call me a tourist. Lefty O’Doul’s for an afternoon baseball game is a must. Too many spots in San Fran to list. It’s one of our favorite cities. But, while we’re at it, Muir Woods outside of San Fran is also a fave, and you get to cross the bridge on your way, so check it out!

We’ll probably stop in wine country on the way through… Hard to pass that up. Austin Hope, if you’re reading this, can you save a case of Troublemaker for the bus? Gracias amigo.

In LA, we always eat at Dan Tana’S and afterparty at The Rainbow. Classic LA hangs! We recently discovered a Chinese place called Yang Chow that is climbing the ladder of our favorite food stops…

Seems like all we do is eat and drink, right? Wrong! My buddy from the Jordan Ford Band is a member at Bel-Air Country Club. So if you’re reading this, Jordan, put us down for a noon-ish tee time and have a few DKR cocktails waiting, please.

Solana Beach is somewhat new to us, but there is a great little executive-style golf course we will probably hit up in the afternoon and there’s a great little dive around the corner from Belly Up we will probably go to. The name escapes me right now… I know how to find it, though.


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