Alt-Country outfit Reckless Kelly officially returns Friday with its tenth full-length studio recording. The band will release its new recording, American Jackpot/American Girls digitally on Friday. Leading up to its release, the double album produced three singles – ‘I Only See You With My Eyes Closed,’ ‘North American Jackpot’ and ‘Lonesome On My Own.’ While all three singles are enjoyable in their own right, they are just some of the songs that stand out on this latest offering from the band. Considering the double record spans a total of 20 songs, it offers plenty from which to choose both in terms of musical arrangements and lyrical themes. ‘Lost Inside The Groove,’ which comes late in the record’s 75-minute (hour and 15-minute) run, is another key addition to the album, proving its strength. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Another New Year’s Day,’ one of the album’s early offerings, is another of the album’s strong points. It will be addressed a little later. ‘Put On Your Brave Face Mary’ is yet another important addition to the album’s body. When it is considered along with the other songs noted here, the album’s already released singles and the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the album proves to be one of this year’s top new country music albums.
Reckless Kelly’s latest full-length studio recording American Jackpot/American Girls is another positive offering from the veteran alt-country outfit that audiences are sure to enjoy. That is due to musical and lyrical content that will keep listeners engaged from beginning to end of the hour-long-plus record. ‘Lost Inside The Groove’ is just one of the songs that serves to support these statements. That is proven in part through its upbeat musical arrangement, which will get any listener’s foot tapping. The song’s arrangement will take listeners back to another age of music, thanks to the incorporation of the organ into its whole. The same applies to the style presented through the guitar, bass and drums, which collectively create a kind of old school honky tonk sound. The combination of the classic surf rock sound generated through the organ and the old school country sound doesn’t seem on paper that it would work, but in reality, works quite surprisingly well. It’s just one part of what makes the song stand out. The positive energy exuded through the arrangement is enhanced through the song’s lyrical content.
The song’s lyrical content is just as upbeat as its musical content. Front man Willy Braun sings in the song’s lead verse, “Well my little mamacita, she says to me/You’re everything I ever need/Ain’t no way I’d ever break your heart/She picks me up when I’m feelin’ down/Holds me steady when I’m spinnin’ ‘round/There’s no mistaking the real thing/And I’m lost inside the groove again with you, baby/I never want it to be found/Lost inside the groove again with you baby/This time, I’m not messing around.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “Well my cool, rockin’ mama and lucky old me/We got something that you wouldn’t believe/Flyin’ down lover’s lane on cruise control/She’s pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down/Heart to heart without making a sound/There’s no mistaking the real thing.” He adds in the end of the chorus refrain, “Use my mind when I get you all alone/All my worries start fadin’ away/I save my trouble for a rainy day.” A little more is added from here in the song’s third and final verse, but it is very much in the same vein as what Braun presented in the song’s first and second verse, and even its chorus. To that end, the song’s somewhat celebratory lyrics, which focus on a man who clearly is head over heels in love, will connect with its own share of listeners. Coupled with the song’s equally upbeat musical arrangement, the two elements join to make this song just one of this album’s most notable highlights. ‘Another New Year’s Day,’ which comes earlier in the album, is another standout addition to the record.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Another New Year’s Day’ is distinctly different from that at the base of ‘Lost Inside The Groove.’ This song’s arrangement is quite reserved by comparison. The balance of the piano, guitar and drums forms the foundation of this introspective composition. That foundation is strengthened through the addition of the violin, mandolin and harmonica. The whole of that collective makes the mid-tempo work engaging and entertaining in its own unique fashion, and serves well to help illustrate the emotion exhibited through the song’s lyrical content.
Speaking of the song’s lyrical content, Braun tugs at listeners’ heart strings through this work that is not only introspective but contemplative, too. He sings in the song’s lead verse, “Well I woke up/With a clean slate/As the sun was setting in the west/guest the last day/Was a long one/From now on/I’m gonna do my best/To live my life/Like I always said I would/Shake these demons off my back for good/’Cause it don’t have to be this way/It’s just another New Year’s Day/It’s just another/New Year’s Day.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “Well I went down/With my old pals/For a couple at the burger and brew/And I told ‘em/From now on y’all/things’ll be different like I always do/And I said just watch/this whole room, I’m gonna turn it around/Well they had a good laugh/And they ordered they another round/’Cause it always ends this way/It’s just another New Year’s Day/It’s just another New Year’s Day.” He adds in the song’s third and final verse, “Well I cam back/To the hotel/And I swear I’m gonna finish this song/But I couldn’t/Help but wonder/Just where the hell it all went wrong/And they say you’ve gotta live like no tomorrow/Well that all sounds great/’Till it’s time to drown all your sorrows/There’s got to be a better way/It’s just another New Year’s Day/It’s just another New Year’s Day/It’s just another New Year’s Day.” Again, this is pretty contemplative. It’s as if he is saying in these words, the more things change, the more they stay the same, no matter how hard we try to change. It makes a person look at one’s own life and perhaps try harder to not let the next day be another SSDD scenario. Keeping that in mind, this song clearly stands out from others in this album, including ‘Lost Inside The Groove.’ It’s just one more example of what makes Reckless Kelly’s new album stand out, too. ‘Put On Your Brave Face Mary’ is one more notable addition to the album that is unique in its own way.
‘Put On Your Brave Face Mary’ offers audiences another song that stands so starkly apart from its counterparts on this record in the best way possible, beginning with its musical arrangement. The arrangement is a heart wrenching composition that is born in Braun’s vocal and instrumental performance. It is a modern, melancholy work, but not melancholy just for the sake of it. It really works well to accompany the heartbreaking story featured in the song’s lyrical content.
The story that seems to be presented in this song’s lyrical theme appears to center on a military veteran who has come back and is fighting that inner emotional battle of which so many news agencies have talked in stories that they run. This is inferred right from the song’s lead verse, in which Braun sings, “Mary fought back tears when she saw that far off look in his eyes/Said, ‘what’d they do to you, baby?’/I can see you dyin’ inside/I got you six/Just like you’ve always had mine/These invisible scars don’t change the man you are/Everything’s gonna be alright/Put on your brave face Mary/Put on your brave face/Put on your brave face Mary/Put on your brave face.” This verse alone certainly sounds like an addressing of the emotional scars that so many military veterans and their loved ones deal with together. Braun continues in the song’s second verse, “VA’s understaffed/The lines are around the block/He calls up the hotline/But nobody there has the time to talk/Been talked up for days/Dealing with demons they don’t understand/Mary holds the line while he takes matters into his own hands/Put on your brave face, Mary/Put on your brave face/Put on your brave face, Mary/Put on your brave face.” He adds in the song’s third verse, “Now he’s fighting for his life/Mary, she’s a rock/It’s all over the news/So Washington’s gearing up to talk the talk/Seven hundred billion/Somehow not enough to go around/It’s the price we pay are the 22 a day committed to the ground/Put on your brave face, Mary/Put on your brave face.” Whether one is a veteran or knows a veteran, this song so hardly hits at the heart of this matter, of veterans dealing with PTSD and having no help other than family. This isn’t the first time the Reckless Kelly has taken on the government’s leaders for their handling of the military. The band took on George W. Bush and the government in their handling of the Middle East conflict on its 2008 album Bulletproof through the song ‘American Blood.’ That song was a damning indictment of the government’s focus more on American intervention in the Middle East for the aim of controlling the region’s oil supply more than to help free the region’s peoples. Those with any connection to the military that the band has once again stood up for military personnel and holding those in power accountable here. Keeping that in mind, this song proves once more why American Jackpot/American Girls is such a powerful new offering from Reckless Kelly. When it is considered with the other songs noted here, the singles that have been spawned already from the album and the rest of the album’s songs, the recording in whole proves to be another strong new offering from the band and another of this year’s top new country music albums.
Reckless Kelly’s new double album American Jackpot/American Girls, the band’s 10th album to date, is another impressive offering from the alt-country outfit that is certain to resonate with the band’s established fan base and country music fans in general. That is proven in each of the recording’s albums, and is evidenced here through just three of the songs featured in the album. When those songs are considered alongside the album’s already released singles and the rest of the album’s works, the recording in whole proves itself a work that is deserving of as much praise as any of Reckless Kelly’s previous albums. American Jackpot / American Girls will be available digitally Friday and physically in July. More information on the album is available along with all of Reckless Kelly’s latest news at:
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