Country rock band Reckless Kelly is planning to retire from touring. The group's fans still have an opportunity to see them in 2023 and 2024, but co-founders Willy Braun and Cody Braun told Rolling Stone on Dec. 15 they plan to be off the road completely by 2025. It is a shocking decision from a band known for playing up to 200 shows a year.
"In a nutshell, I've been playing music professionally and touring since I was 7 or 8," Willy, the group's frontman, told Rolling Stone. "I still love playing, I still love traveling, and I still love all the guys in the band. What it comes down to, really, is I'm ready to do something different."
By the time the group ends touring, Willy will have been on the road for over 40 years. He believes now is the time to begin the next stage of his career. "I've been at this so long, there's not a lot of surprises anymore, and I'm ready to not have to be somewhere every weekend for a bit," he said.
The group plans to play about 35 shows each in 2023 and 2024. The wind-down begins on Jan. 8-9 at The MusicFest in Steamboat, Colorado. Reckless Kelly decided that slowly transitioning to retiring from the stage instead of one big final tour would give fans a better opportunity to see them. It also removes the added pressure that comes with whirlwind farewell tours.
"We're trying to play larger venues, festivals, and places that we love. We want to get back to those old haunts that we love and have played forever one more time," Cody, who plays fiddle and mandolin, told Rolling Stone. "We're going to try to get as close to people as we can, but people will probably have to drive a little further than they're used to if they want to see us now."
Aside from the shows in Colorado, Reckless Kelly has dates scheduled through September. The last scheduled show for 2023 is at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Jason Boland and the Stragglers will share the stage with them. Reckless Kelly also hopes to release one more album, which will be their first since 2020's American Jackpot/American Girls, as well as other unnamed projects, between now and 2025.
Brothers Willy and Cody form the core of Reckless Kelly, which they formed in Stanley, Idaho in 1996 before moving to Austin, Texas. The band's current line-up also includes drummer Jay "Nazziola" Nazz, bassist Joe Miller, and guitarist Ryan Engleman. They released their first of 10 studio albums, Millican, in 1998. They have also released two live albums.
"I want everyone who supported us to know how much we appreciated it over the years," Cody told Rolling Stone. "In the independent world, you survive by the kindness of others. There are people who let us sleep on couches or play their clubs when we weren't drawing flies, and the next three years are ones we're looking at as a thank-you to those people."