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Reckless Abandon 

How to endear yourself to parents: "We met a new drummer who happened to be on vacation from Connecticut. It was jam night so we got pretty drunk, then got up and said, 'Hey, is there a drummer out there who'd like to get up?' and he ended up playing the rest of the summer with us. In the fall, we said, 'We're moving to Texas. If you want to join the band, come on.' So he went back and broke the news that he was not going to finish the last semester of college and (was going to) move to Austin, Texas, to be in a band."

Cody Braun of Reckless Kelly is describing how he and brother Willy met Jay Nazz, the band's drummer, in Oregon. After a year of woodshedding there, they relocated to Austin, which turned out to be a good move because the band has been voted "Best Roots Rock Band" three years in a row by readers of The Austin Chronicle.

One of Reckless Kelly's early homes in Austin was Lucy's Retired Surfer Bar, where the band played most Mondays. "We were just starting out so we'd work up a song at the house that afternoon and pull it out that night because there were only 20 people. We just didn't care," Braun laughs. "We were playing for free beer so we might as well throw it out there, you know? It was great for the band to tighten up and learn to play together.

"We used to do lots of goofy covers and learn to work the crowd a little bit. We were all pretty young so we were playing for free beer and taking pretty good advantage of that, too."

Though primarily a country rock band, Reckless Kelly sometimes still does acoustic sets the way it did then, and on the Saturday night before its Jazz Fest gig, the band will be playing acoustic at Lucy's on Tchoupitoulas. The group recorded Acoustic: Live at Stubb's in 2000, but that wasn't part of any plan. "We were down here a month or two without a drummer so we started doing the acoustic thing," Braun explains. "When he moved to town, we'd already established these couple of gigs so we kept them acoustic and started finding electric whenever we could. We've always kept it in the mix, and it opens up a lot more gigs."


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