If you go
What: Reckless Kelly concert, part of the 36th annual Cowboy Downhill
When: About 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, after the Cowboy Downhill awards ceremony
Where: Gondola Square at the base of Steamboat Ski Area
Online: Learn more about the band at www.myspace.com/recklesskelly. See an event schedule for the 36th annual Cowboy Downhill at www.steamboat.com/cowboydownhill.
Steamboat Springs Texas country rock band Reckless Kelly started hitting the road about 14 years ago. The quintet, led by brothers Willy and Cody Braun, toured around the Lone Star State, playing four-hour gigs to raucous honky-tonk halls.
That kind of playing required Reckless Kelly to keep a wide array of country and roots music standbys on its song lists. As the group has become more popular and shifted into larger, more rock-oriented venues, it has dropped some of those old western tunes, lead singer Willy Braun said.
“Our show started getting a little more concert-style,” Braun said. “Instead of doing the four-hour bar sets, we’re doing two-hour sets now, so we don’t throw in as many of those old traditional tunes anymore.”
When Braun and his band do return to that style — playing back to the songs they heard growing up as members of a family band in Idaho — they have fun doing it. Those early influences are prevalent on Reckless Kelly’s upcoming record, “Somewhere in Time,” and they’re likely to work into a free concert Tuesday at Steamboat Ski Area.
The concert is part of the 36th annual Cowboy Downhill. Cowboys of various skiing abilities are scheduled to race down the hill at 4 p.m. Tuesday. An awards ceremony for the race is expected to start at about 5:30 p.m. in Gondola Square. Reckless Kelly plays the Gondola Square stage after the awards.
Reckless Kelly made a name in the Texas alternative country scene with its powerful shows and updated look at country songs. A frequent member of the Texas country cast that makes its way to Colorado every January, Reckless Kelly has maintained an edge that would feel as home in a stuffy rock club as it would in Ryman Auditorium.
“Our thing is to try to rock it out as much as we can without losing the originality of the song. We tend to play a little bit more rock ’n’ roll stuff these days,” Braun said.
On the upcoming record “Somewhere in Time,” the band — Willy Braun on vocals, Cody Braun on fiddle and other instruments, guitarist David Abeyta, bassist Chris Schelske and drummer Jay Nazz — revisits the songs of friend and songwriter Pinto Bennett. It’s a style that’s closer to the Hank Williams and Gram Parsons songs the Brauns grew up with, though it’s not a style that totally ignores the brothers’ childhood listening experiences with Chuck Berry and The Byrds.
“We just try to take a little bit of a modern direction as far as the sound quality, and the instrumentation is pretty much the same as we’ve always done,” Braun said.
Willing to be behind the times with its classic rock and classic honky-tonk elements, Reckless Kelly promises plenty of energy in its show Tuesday, Braun said.