Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rory Kelly Featured in Rank & Revue

Rory Kelly and Triple Threat will be rockin' numerous showcases during SXSW. But what's even better is that they will be opening up our showcase on Saturday March 19th at the Dirty Dog Bar. Hear what Rank & Revue has to say about his new project.

by Tammy Moore 

When North Carolina's baddest boys, the Crank County Daredevils, rolled into town for SXSW two years ago, they had a young unknown guitar player in tow. Founding CCD member Adam Stevens had exited the band the year before, married one of ATX's own and relocated here. Stevens is a big presence, he'd become a mainstay with the Red River set and he was in the band when Crank County literally blazed onto Austin's sleaze radar seven years before. This new kid had big shoes to fill and the tension was palpable in the Jackalope when the band took the stage on that cool March night to begin their rock n roll assault. 

All anyone knew was that he had been the guitarist for a fairly brutal heavy metal band, out East Coast way, called Intethod. Seemed an unlikely fit. Sure, aesthetically, he hit the mark. Covered in tattoos and chains with just enough grit around the boots and leather edges to bring out the meow in every woman in the room. They must teach that intangible trait in Crank County 101 at the School of Rock and the rookie made an A+. If he was nervous at all, one would never be the wiser and when he hit the first note, it became glaringly clear why. His name was Rory Kelly and this guy could S-H-R-E-D. He tore it up with the Daredevils that night and over the course of the next few days of the fest, playing more shows and carousing with Austin's rock faithful, won over any naysayers with his undeniable talent and what turned out to be an outrageous personality to match. 

He spent the next year with the band touring the US and Europe. Reviews raved and record sales soared. By the time they came back for SXSW 2010, they had scored world-wide distribution for their third record which was to be released two months later. They had a huge support system around them in the form of fans, a label and agents willing to sell their birthrights for them. They were finally poised to get the attention they deserved. Then fate blocked the door...but that's a story for another time. 

Enter Rory Kelly's Triple Threat. Kelly is a musician fueled with super explosive energy so when the path he was on required waiting for circumstances to change in order to move forward, he created a detour for himself in the form of a new band. He had played vicious metal and the Crank County experience had lended itself to developing strong songwriting skills and to streaming his already growing love of southern blues towards grooving to a lot of Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray and Roy Buchanan. The move then to more authentic blues rock felt like a natural progression and he enlisted another of his great influences, his father Mike, to help him pull it all together. They had jammed together countless times in a family operated music dive set in the dark woods of Marion, NC and his folks had supported Rory in his dreams since he picked up the guitar at 12. Mystery solved regarding his passion for family. 

Now the two Kellys and bassist Jake Asta have created yet another stand out project in yet another new genre for Rory. His youth belies his state of mind. No stranger to ripping life and stages to fiery pieces of ash on the road with his previous acts, the satisfaction Kelly gets from Triple Threat is, ironically, in the freedom to...ease off the pedal...so to speak. "I really dig slowing things down a bit, and really let the hooks and songs settle in on people; instead of assaulting everything in my path. It allows me to be free as a songwriter and guitarist like I’ve never been able to do. I've gone back to the roots," Kelly said last week. 

And, in keeping with going back to his roots, Kelly has joined forces with ex-Intethod manager Donna Berghammer, with whom he had remained close after leaving the metal band, and released Triple Threat's debut record, "Get Me Back To You" on her new Next Wave Records label. According to Berghammer the label is on it's third run of the record as the first two have sold out since it's November 2010 release. All parties involved think it's a sign that the band is headed in the right direction. Those record sales also indicate that fans of Kelly's heavier material are more than pleased with the current direction and probably rightfully so. Rory Kelly is who he is and that is a man that enjoys playing all kinds of music and one who will bring it the only way he knows how. Full-throttle. 

Does this current obsession with blues rock mean that he's found himself musically? Kelly puts it in layman's terms and his answer reflects that of a soulful musician, acknowledging that it's all about the connection that matters most to him as a player. "I don’t think any 'style' moves me more than the other. The situation surrounding it is what moves me. Even when I play the blues, I still attack it as if I were playing in a metal band. So no matter the band or venue, if people are digging it, then we’re gonna take a fucking roller coaster ride together….all night long."
So get in line for the ride, Kiddies, and hang on tight. Rory Kelly's Triple Threat play

Wednesday, 3/16, 4:00PM BLUE MOON - ROCKFEST
Thursday, 3/17, 10:15PM PURE - ROCKFEST
Friday, 3/18, 9:00PM SUGAR'S - ROCKFEST