Decade of Difference: Reckless Kelly

Brothers Willy and Cody Braun formed Reckless Kelly in Oregon before moving to Austin, Texas. As kids, they had toured with their father in a Western Swing band who had two appearances on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson amongst their highlights.

Naming their first album Millican after a small Oregon town, the band drew high praise from Joe Ely, and over the next seven years released five albums. Two were live recordings, an attempt to capture the strong appeal of the band’s live shows.

Reckless Kelly’s most productive period ran through 2016 and included one Grammy win. A five year period of no original material releases followed while Willy Braun wrote songs for a concept album. When he was done he realized he had a lot of songs that did not fit the concept, so the band chose to release two albums simultaneously – in a double CD set. American Jackpot / American Girls was two records in one package.


With a loyal audience that shows up for multiple shows, Reckless Kelly works to keep shows fresh and different. According to Cody Braun,  “There are people who come see us a few times during the tour,” he says. “We want to make sure that it’s something different each night we step on stage. It also gives us a chance to play some of the older songs.”