Reckless Kelly (from the album The 9/11 Demos available on No Big Deal Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
Twenty years ago, the world experienced a collective nightmare that anyone who lived through that day will never be likely to forget. As it turned out, Austin’s Alt-Roots Rockers Reckless Kelly was in the midst of recording tracks for a new album when the news came down that the United States had been attacked.
Unable to do anything other than what they were naturally inclined to do in the first place, the group continued to soldier on. Unwilling to be deterred by this act of absolute evil, they persevered, eventually recording 16 songs, some of which would eventually be rerecorded, given new arrangements, and included on other albums. Until recently, these original recordings were buried in the vaults where they would reside untouched and undiscovered, at least until now. Once they came to light, the group opted to digitize the original tracks and release them as originally conceived, resulting in The 9/11 Demos. While several of the songs may share a familiarity factor, these seminal versions possess the power and passion that was originally intended.
To the group’s credit, the music that emerged that day still sounds fully formed. There’s a heartfelt feeling of emotion and melancholia inherent in certain songs — “Snowfall”, “Set Me Free”, “Motel Cowboy Show”, and “By the End of the Night” in particular — but other tracks — “Williamina”, “Broken Heart”, “Me & My Baby”, “I Saw It Coming”, and “You Don’t Want Me Around” among the more obvious — come across with a resolve and resilience that underscores the intent that Reckless Kelly have always made such a vital part of their MO.
So too, the ragged ballad “May Peace Find You Tonight” takes on special meaning in light of the tragic circumstances that occurred in the midst of the recording.
Notably, at the time, the band were still in the relative infancy of a nascent 25- year career, but it’s clear even at the outset that they possessed the authority and assurance needed to propel them into the upper strata of today’s Americana auteurs. Consequently, The 9/11 Demos stands among their best efforts to date based on the strength of the songs and the commitment and clarity that brought them to fruition. Kudos to the band for bringing light to a day shrouded in darkness and despair. That alone is a remarkable feat in itself. (by Lee Zimmerman)
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