April 2005

Reckless Kelly - Wicked Twisted Road
Sugar Hill Records SUG-CD-3992
Format: CD
Released: 2005

by David J. Cantor

Musical Performance ****
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ****

"My first love was a wicked, twisted road / I hit the million-mile mark at seventeen years old…." So begins the first track of Reckless Kelly’s just-out fifth CD, Wicked Twisted Road. It displays simple chord progression, fingerpicked guitar, eager musical souls chafing at the bit behind a restrained arrangement -- "roung" "loung" "soung" for "wrong" "long" "song" in the fifth verse -- and no bridge or refrain, just a plain song with a country twang. But it’s honest and deep, containing no pretense, with biting fiddle riffs. It sets the stage for a deceptively plain string of tunes which erupt into hard-hitting rock that somehow keeps sounding easy, even softly played, when it’s anything but.

The disc takes its time to get hopping without risking boredom. Track three, "7 Nights in Eire," is the first toe-tapper, and number five, "Motel Cowboy," snaps your knees and adds what only good bands pull off: long, slow bridges. "We’ll hang out all night long / We’ll toast the break of dawn." Not to worry -- it’s five minutes plus, plenty of time to regain high gear, and it does.

The album’s molten core is a pair of tunes: "Sixgun" and "Nobody Haunts Me Like You." The sound of a getaway car, then a siren introduce the former, which takes off like a rocket propelled by Jay Nazz’s peppy drums and Jimmy Jam McFeeley’s quick bass. The latter a is richly arranged dirge-like number about unforgettable, lost love.

If this album contains a weak moment, I can’t find it. It even takes us out with a gently played reprise of the first song.