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
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