For those of you who like their new album as much as I do, read the Austin Chronicle article on Reckless Kelly and the The 9513 review of Bulletproof. However, if you like the new Reckless Kelly I think you will also like two other artists starting to make some noise on the Texas scene. One is Austin Collins out of his Namesake city in the Lone Star State and The other is The John D. Hale band.
The John D. Hale Band is from Iowa but they are gaining notoriety on the Texas and Southwest circuit. In fact Ray Randall says they are practically the House Band at Americana Roots which is high praise indeed. Their album Lost will appeal to fans of the more Rocking side of Reckless Kelly. Although they have more country undertones than Reckless Kelly. John D. Hale's musical pedigree was formed early when his older brother gave him a Robert Earl Keen album when he was just 10 years old. He subsequently immersed himself in REK and his kindred spirits and the rest as they say, is history. He especially took after Keens ability to spin an outlaw tale. On "Pistol in Each Hand," a drug deal gone wrong song he sings "He rolled one while he waited for them to gun him down." Two other songs in this mold involve jealous lovers, "Love Pulled the Trigger" and "LA County." "Stake our Claim Again" (See video below.) is a lament song in the vain of Chris Knight that addresses the plight of the rural farmer, "Should we cash the farm on in. Just move on down the line. Tell 'em all to go to hell and buy us a little more time." The album also has a hilarious hidden track called "The Local First Assembly Church of Crystal Methodists." A church that reads from the Book of Jerry Jeff and has commandment like "Don't covet your neighbors weed and pass it to the left."
Austin Collins will appeal to those who like Reckless Kelly's more country singer-songwriter tunes, of which there aren't many on Bulletproof. Collins has always been interested in songwriting but upon graduation from college he tried to be practical an d became a financial analyst for a while. Being in the Corporate Finance and Accounting field myself, I was glad to here that we all aren't complete bean counter nerds. (Collins had the good sense to get out though.) Collins songwriting is powerful and engaging, and primarily addresses the complexities of relationship on Roses are Black. This songwriter certainly has staying power.