Reckless Kelly: Wicked Twisted Road 

It took me eight years to stumble on them, but in three minutes and 26 seconds, Reckless Kelly had me sold. The first track on their fifth album, both called Wicked Twisted Road, is one of those songs you have to listen to 20 times back-to-back to get your fill. And the other 12 tracks explore every shade of roots rock from gritty harmonica jams to frenzied fiddling to beer-soaked ballads to juicy riffs on mandolin and slide guitar.

Led by Willy and Cody Braun, heirs to the country music legacy of father Muzzie Braun of Muzzie Braun and the Boys, the five-member group (which includes David Abeyta, Jimmy McFeeley and Jay Nazz) has been throwing down albums since 1997. The songs range in style and subject, but each has the same confident ensemble sound and unshaven, black coffee feel. It is the kind of music you could listen to around a campfire just as easily as a concert stage, and unlike a lot of popular stuff these days, the lyrics are just as rich as the melodies.

Standout tracks include "Wicked Twisted Road," "Sixgun," "Wretched Again" and "Baby's Got A Whole Lot More." And as an extra bonus, the band includes a making-of video on the CD, so you can see the wicked twisted road unfold.

--Erin Ryan

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