Reckless Kelly – 30 years and „leaving“ strong

Reckless Kelly Tour (Photocredit Reckless Kelly)
It’s 1984 in Stanley, ID, where Muzzie Braun and his wife launch the Braun Brothers Reunion Festival. This August, the 40th anniversary of the iconic festival will take place in Challis, Idaho. Muzzie and his sons Cody, Willy, Micky and Gary played together for quite some time until Cody and Willy formed the band Reckless Kelly and soon after that moved to Texas. Now they say it’s time to slow down a very busy touring schedule. Their 13th studio album The Last Frontier will drop soon but they vow to keep putting out new music after their retirement. At our interview, they explained more about their future plans.

Bruno Michel: Thank you for the opportunity to visit with you. First question to Willy: A while ago in 2022 you said that one of the reasons to retire from the road in 2025 was that you were ready to do something different. Can people know what you’ll be doing? Willy Braun (WB): Well, we’ve been playing music for so long since we grew up and played with my dad and my brothers. We do this with Reckless Kelly for almost 30 years now. It’s just time to take a little more time off from constant traveling and playing. I’m not quite sure yet what I’ll be doing but I’ll figure it out.

And, Cody, what will you be doing with all this free time after the last show in 2025? Cody Braun (CB): I’ll just stay in Austin and play with a couple different bands there for fun. I also got a little studio setup in my house will produce some records, do some video projects in cooperation with the Texas Music Scene TV show. And, like Willy said, enjoy some time to stay home and do some “normal” stuff for a little bit.

Now, I assume after 2025, people can still come and see Reckless Kelly at the Braun Brothers Reunion Festival in Idaho, which is celebrating it’s 40th anniversary this year, right? WB: Yeah, we’re probably always gonna do that and reunite with the Braun Family.

Quick time travel back to 1989, when a cassette recording with you, your dad and your brothers was released. Muzzie Braun & The Little Braun Brothers. Question to Cody: Where did the Yodel go? CB: Very deep (laughs). After our voices changed when we got older, the yodeling wasn’t quite that easy to do anymore.

Forward just seven years to 1996 when Reckless Kelly was formed in Bend, Oregon. Did you ever think that you would be considered Texas Music Icons after a relatively short period of time? WB: We kind of always knew that we would play music for the rest of our lives. We just didn’t quite know what form that would take and how successful the band would be. But here we are 30 years later with the same group of guys for the most part. Kind of crazy with all the cool stuff we were able to do. Sometimes it seems just like yesterday when we started and sometimes it feels a lot longer than 30 years (laughs).

Your next album The Last Frontier is coming out soon and the first single Keep Lookin’ Down The Road is out already. What can people expect about the new album? Will it be kind of along the sound of the first single? WB: Yes, the single is a pretty good representation of the sound that will be on the album. It’ll be the Reckless Kelly sound but we wanted to make an album with short songs, like those old singles were on 45 vinyls back then. So, most songs are between 2.5 and 3 minutes long. Like Tom Petty said: Don’t Bore Us Get To The Chorus. So, everything is pretty tight, not a lot of long solos like on other albums.

CB: yes, people have a short attention span so we thought a short record might work well (laughter).

While Reckless Kelly retires, your brothers Micky and Gary will continue with their band Micky & The Motorcars. Assuming some people don’t know about this: What was actually the reason to form two bands by the four of you brothers? CB: Gary and Micky were still in High School when Willy and I moved to Oregon. Willy was around 17 and I was barely 18, so they were a few years behind us. They actually took some time off when Muzzie & The Boys broke up. Gary worked on a Trail Ride place where he took people to the mountains on horses and also Micky and him worked as carpenters. Later they got back to writing songs, moved to Austin like we did and we ended up playing the same circuit with our two bands.

Both of you are huge baseball fans and only around your mid 40’s now. Could we see a coach Willy or a coach Cody in the future when you have all this free time? WB: well, we don’t have any kids. Our little brother Micky has one daughter but I don’t know. We had our “Celebrity Softball Jam” tournament once a year, where I was the manager of one team and Cody was the manager of the other. That was fun, so we may get to do a little bit of that again. Would we become coaches? I don’t know, I probably rather be the announcer, not sure if I have the skills to be a coach (laughter).

You did more than 3000 shows and drove 1.5 million miles to and from those shows. Amazing. Won’t you be missing something after 2025? CB: I will definitely miss it. I like to travel. We met so many people on our travels all over the world. And we traveled to all the states in the US at least once a year and met friends. Now we’ll see them at the Braun Family Reunion. Hopefully we can have some fun on other travels and I look forward to that.

WB: Yes, we all like to travel and play music together. Maybe we can still do that once in a while even if not as much as we used to. But I’m glad that we still keep the band together and make records. I will keep writing songs and we’ll put out a new album every few years. We’re not completely going away.

CB: Just a new and different approach.

Sounds to me more like a George-Strait-retirement. Waiting for the big shows in Vegas and so on. WB: Nobody ever told us we didn’t have to play every single night (laughter).

Last question: If you were to interview Willy and Cody Braun, which question would you ask that I did not? CB: How did you guys stay together for so long. We never had any money to fight over (laughter).

WB: Tough question. I don’t know really. Maybe where does the inspiration for the songs come from. It comes from things we see on the road or people say in conversations. Or from books that I read. I try to keep my ears open for good ideas and good lines. Some of it is real, some of it has a little truth in it. But like Steve Earle said: The truth doesn’t always rhyme.

Thank you so much for this interview and good luck with all your future plans.