After Larry Keel and Natural Bridge‘s set at the French Broad River Festival today, they head off on Saturday, May 1st to Columbia to play the White Mule. Check out this great interview with Larry Keel and the Free Times:
Larry Keel & Natural Bridge
The White Mule: Saturday, May 1
BY KEVIN OLIVER in the Columbia Free Times
For 20 years, Virginian Larry Keel has explored various corners of the bluegrass music world, first with the progressive bluegrass of McGraw Gap, then with the even more adventurous Larry Keel Experience, and currently with the more traditional-based Natural Bridge.
“I just like to play all kinds of music and have fun with it,” Keel says when asked about his various ensembles. “That’s what the crowd wants to see the most, is somebody having fun while they’re playing.”
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Though he’s done plenty of different things, Keel wouldn’t have it any other way, he says.
“I love what I’m doing right now with Natural Bridge, playing some wild forms of bluegrass,” Keel says. “I have been doing some playing with Yonder Mountain String Band, and I still get to play with Keller Williams a bunch, too.”
The Williams connection goes back a ways, and Keel, along with his wife Jenny, have a new trio album with Keller Williams coming out in late May.
“It’s all No. 1 hits from the pop charts, done bluegrass style,” Keel says. “It’s fascinating to me because I didn’t know many of the artists we covered when we started recording. We just learned them and put them into a bluegrass format right there.”
The best thing about the new songs so far, he says, has been the crowd reaction at the shows.
“When we’ve played these songs live, the reaction of the kids is that they love it,” Keel says. “It’s not complicated, we just brought out the songs using a bluegrass band as a tool.”
It’s those kids who are the fastest growing part of the bluegrass audience who will appreciate what Keel does the most, but Keel says what he, Williams, and others are doing will bring those new fans into the more traditional side of bluegrass, too.
“I have the theory that all things must change to grow and prosper, and I see that happening a lot with bluegrass,” Keel says. “Yonder Mountain String Band are drawing thousands of people everywhere they go. They taper their set to play songs that the young people know today. If they do it bluegrass style, the kids might know the song but they are listening to it in a bluegrass format, then they play a Bill Monroe right after that and they get them to listen to it, too.”
Other than touring and recording, Keel has another new project he’s put out there; a website called Fishin’ and Pickin’ (fishinandpickin.com), which is exactly what it sounds like — a site for people who like to fish and who also enjoy live music.
“It combines two of my loves: fishin’ and pickin’,” Keel says. “Make sure you don’t put Gs on those words, either. I meet so many wonderful people who are fishermen and pickers, too.”
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.free-times.com/index.php?cat=11011801074507906&ShowArticle_ID=11023004104307021