Kelly Willis Celebrates The 25th Anniversary Of Her Radio Ranch Album

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Kelly Willis Celebrates The 25th Anniversary Of Her Radio Ranch Album
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McGonigel's Mucky Duck says
When Kelly Willis and the Fireballs landed in Austin back in December of ’87, the 19-year-old rockabilly filly had no idea that she was little more than a year away from signing her first label deal. The Fireballs, ex-pats of the Washington, D.C.-area roots rock scene (such as it was), would burn out and disband long before then, but Willis and her drummer/songwriting boyfriend Mas Palermo weren’t long in assembling a new band of red-hot players and establishing themselves as local favorites in their newly adopted hometown. Austin was not yet the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World,” but it was already a boomtown for original roots, country and rock ’n’ roll acts, and Radio Ranch fit right in with the best of ’em. When producer/MCA Nashville honcho Tony Brown playfully asked them “Y’all ready to show your asses?” en route to the studio to record 1990’s Well Travelled Love,the answer — whether they knew it or even said so themselves — was an unqualified yes.

Radio Ranch didn’t end up staying together for very long after that record, which was released in 1990 as Willis’ solo debut. Neither did Willis and Mas, whose 1989 marriage wouldn’t make it through the ’90s. But 25 year later,Well Travelled Love still holds up and still holds a special place in Willis’ heart, which is why she reached out to each of her old bandmates — Mas, bassist Brad Fordham, lead guitarist David Murray and steel player Mike Hardwick — late last year and asked them if they’d be game for a little Silver Anniversary celebration. Happily, they all enthusiastically agreed, so for seven dates at the end of this month, Kelly Willis and Radio Ranch will ride again: Jan. 22 at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck in Houston.

For fans who saw them the first time around a quarter century ago (and yes, Willis can’t help but cringe a little when she thinks of it like that), the short tour will be a nostalgic blast from the past. And for Willis fans who discovered the singer through her later solo albums or perhaps know her best from her duo recordings and annual Christmas shows with Bruce Robison (her “new” husband of 20 years), the Radio Ranch reunion shows will offer a chance to experience a taste of the Austin music scene from its pre-tech-boom halcyon days — not to mention a rare opportunity to hear Willis sing a bunch of songs that likely haven’t graced her setlist since the George H. W. Bush administration.
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By: McGonigel's Mucky Duck

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