Country rock’s Reckless Kelly is already batting a thousand with its upstart label, No Big Deal Records. Its first release — the band’s seventh studio album, “Good Luck & True Love” — is the act’s highest-charting to date.
And last week, it earned the group its first Grammy nomination.
“That explains why I’m a little hungover this morning,” said vocalist and guitarist Willy Braun. “We always wanted to make our own records, and it’s cool to see that we’ve been able to pull it off and not have to have someone over our shoulders to make sure we do it.”
Braun necessarily didn’t see awards in the cards when the Texas band first made the decision to strike out on its own. A little more freedom was all the guys sought, but a Grammy nod is the icing on the cake.
“It’s cool to have the reins, to have all the control and be able to do exactly what we wanted to do with it,” he said. “It’s nice to not have to answer to anybody or fight anyone for anything.”
That liberty translated into a decidedly retro affair that is reflected in the casino-meets-fortune-teller motif gracing the disc’s cover. “We wanted to make this record old-school style,” Braun said. “We recorded it on 2-inch tape. It was just the band playing on it, and we released it on vinyl. It was a cohesive sound and style that we were going for, where all the songs sonically and in subject matter sounded connected. We didn’t want something pieced together over several sessions … we wanted a real album.”
It also marks an approach inspired by Tom Petty, reminiscent of Reckless Kelly’s early work.
“The last album was a little more on the honky-tonk side; this one’s got a little more country-rock edge,” he said.
Next year, No Big Deal may or may not add to its catalog of one, because for Reckless Kelly, the goal is quality over quantity.
“Maybe down the road, we’ll put another band or two on the label, but we aren’t actively looking,” Braun said. “We did it for ourselves.”
Saturday’s show at Wormy Dog Saloon is free for those who bring an unwrapped toy or make a $20 donation to Toys for Tots.