Jedd Ferris I • published December 25, 2009 12:15 am
Asheville Citizen Times
Question: Tell me about the big show.
Answer: Dwayne Brooke of a great band called the Woodshedders doesn’t get down to Asheville very often, so we invited him to open the evening solo acoustic. Then it will be Bawn in the Mash, an eclectic bluegrass rock band from Western Kentucky. Larry and his brother Gary are going to do a set as the Keel Brothers, and then we’ll close the night with a huge Natural Bridge set. This is one of our biggest shows of the year, so we always look forward to it.
Q: This lineup — you, Larry, Jenny Keel on bass on Mark Schimick on mandolin — has been together for about four years now. What’s working?
A: Larry has always had a host of fine musicians to work with since his days in McGraw Gap and his past band, which included Jason Krekel. But I think this lineup has become special. With the longevity of four people sharing space together on stage for so long, something new is reflected in the music. We’re enjoying a telepathic connection that comes from many nights spent listening to each other.
Q: What do you like about working for Larry Keel?
A: Larry has been my friend and mentor for a long time. He’s an amazing teacher, and he has a really original sound in the bluegrass world. Before he offered me the gig, I was a big fan of his music. When I joined the band, I felt like I knew most of the songs already, because I had been digging his music for so long. Larry and Jenny have been good to Mark and I. They’re kind of like surrogate parents and great friends at the same time. They take good care of us.
Q: Tell me about the album you released this year, “Backwoods.”
A: The record was three years in the making. It features some bluegrass but also keeps in touch with outside influences and some of the other music that we love. Keller Williams helped out with a lot of the post-production work. When we finally finished the record, it was a great relief.
Q: Big plans for 2010?
A: I know we have a lot of great festival gigs in the works. We’ve confirmed that we’ll be at Del McCoury’s DelFest up in Maryland. Del had a Grammy-winning album that featured a version of Larry’s “Mountain Song,” so they have a great relationship.
Jedd Ferris writes about entertainment for take5. E-mail him at email@example.com.