With more than 22 years of performances and touring under their collective belt, Austin-based Americana rockers Reckless Kelly can handle all sorts of shows: outdoor concerts, nightclubs and bars, festivals and listener-friendly theater shows.
They’ll bring the rock ’n’ roll when they come to Waco Thursday night at The Backyard, says fiddler, mandolinist and vocalist Cody Braun, but don’t expect them to dust off the set lists from their last Waco shows. That set list doesn’t exist, he said.
“(Guitarist and lead vocalist) Willy (Braun) writes a different set list every night and we do a different show every night,” he explained. “If you want to hear all of our songs — and we’ve got about 10 albums — you’ve got to come to quite a few shows.”
The band — its name borrowed from swaggering Australian folk hero and bandit Ned Kelly — rolls into Waco after winding up a three-week tour that connected gigs in Chicago, Philadelphia and Atlanta.
Those large markets are a sign of the veteran band’s staying power, but also the result of sage advice given the band early in its career, Braun said. Texas booking agent David McClardy advised Reckless Kelly to get out of Texas and spend time developing out-of-state markets while members were young.
The band took his advice to heart, helped in part by the nationally touring Texas singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen, and now reaps the benefit of early years spent introducing the band’s name and sound to audiences far from home.
“It would be just impossible to do that today,” he said. “We’re not bringing home a lot of money today, but we’re still playing.”
Digital music has flipped the old model of band success, where a recording contract led to tours, then more record sales, then larger tours. “That formula has just gone. Every year or two, you have to reconfigure your plan,” he said. “It still costs us a lot of money to make the records and get them out.”
It’s been three years since Reckless Kelly released “Sunset Motel” and the band anticipates hitting the studio next year for a follow-up.
What will that be? Braun says the band waits on his brother Willy, the band’s songwriter, to start the ball rolling, adding that the winter ahead is a busy one with appearances at the Steamboat MusicFest, the Outlaw Country Cruise and a Key West music festival.
Their concert set lists aren’t predictable, but Braun notes the band has been working up a live version of “Bulletproof,” from the 2008 album, mixing it in with the latest, “Sunset Motel.”
“Bring your dancing shoes,” he advised.