Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘flatpicking’

 

StickleyTrio2018PressShot_HHPhotography.jpg

Jon Stickley Trio. Photo by Heather Hambor

Jon Stickley Trio Announces New Drummer and Further Tour Dates
Pure Joy Through Music

 

ASHEVILLE — Jon Stickley Trio is a genre-defying and cinematic instrumental trio, who’s deep grooves, innovative flatpicking, and sultry-spacy violin moves the listener’s head, heart, and feet. “It’s not your father’s acoustic-guitar music—although Stickley’s pop showed him his first chords when he was 12 years old. Instead, Stickley’s Martin churns out a mixture of bluegrass, Chuck Berry, metal, prog, grunge, and assorted other genres—all thoroughly integrated into a personal style,” writes Guitar Player Magazine.

Premier Guitar says, “Stickley’s trio… is not a traditional bluegrass group by any means… they are just nimble and ambitious enough to navigate EDM-style breakbeats as effortlessly as the old timey standard ‘Blackberry Blossom.’”

“Stickley is a super-resourceful acoustic guitarist who uses the instrument in many surprising ways and whose timing is just flawless. Fiddler Lyndsay Pruett puts deep thought into her flowing solos, plus she adds little flourishes and sudden stops that elevate the music,” proclaims Nashville’s Music City Roots’ Craig Havighurst.

Jon Stickley Trio announces a change in lineup beginning in January 2018 with new drummer, Hunter Deacon, who is both classically trained and boasts heavy jazz influences. Hailing from the ever-hip Knoxville, Tennessee, Hunter studied with drummer Keith Brown and received a BM in Studio Music and Jazz from the University of Tennessee. Deacon then went on to complete a six month residency at a jazz club in Hangzhou, China where he performed seven nights a week. Since his return, he’s played with Scott Miller and the Commonwealth, toured the country with Sam Lewis, and performs with guitarist Mike Baggetta.

Stickley says about the seemingly sudden lineup change, “we’re really excited to add Hunter’s vibe to the mix, his creativity and willingness to experiment were two things that drew us to him, and Lyndsay and I were quickly surprised and inspired by what he’ll bring to the table.”

With inspiration ranging from from Green Day to Duran Duran to Tony Rice to Nirvana, Grateful Dead, David Grisman and beyond, the Trio is making waves with their unique sound. Along with releasing two full length albums and one EP in the past few years, the Trio has zig-zagged the nation, playing over 120 dates in 2017 alone. They are road tested and band geek approved!

Dave King (of The Bad Plus) joined forces with Jon Stickley Trio to produce 2017’s Maybe Believe and 2015’s Lost At Last (which The New York Times called “both respectful and free”) in the band’s hometown of Asheville, NC at the esteemed Echo Mountain Recording Studio. The Trio slipped a self-produced 5-track EP, Triangular, into the mix in December of 2016.

“In a time when a lot of instrumental music feels more like math than art, Jon Stickley Trio reminds us of the pure joy that can be created and shared through music,” says Greensky Bluegrass’ Anders Beck.

Stickley says, “The Trio feels fresher and hotter than ever, we’ve hit our stride in terms of creating tunes that are uniquely us and that’s a really exciting place to be musically. Not to mention we are so stoked to get back to many of our favorite festivals and clubs, and even more excited to play some the ones we’ve always dreamed of. 2018 will, without a doubt, be our best year yet!”

Jon Stickley Trio On Tour

1/18 Thu – Capital Ale House – Richmond, VA *w/ Town Mountain
1/19 Fri – The Clementine Cafe – Harrisonburg, VA *w/ Town Mountain
1/20 Sat – House Concert – Chambersburg, PA
1/21 Sun – Boathouse Live – Newport News, VA  *w/ Town Mountain
2/3 Sat – Cumberland Caverns Live Volcano Room – McMinnville, TN *w/ Front Country
2/8 Thu – The Mansion at Strathmore – Bethesda, MD 
2/9-10 Fri-Sat – 5 Points Music Sanctuary – Roanoke, VA *w/ Jenni Lyn & TBA
2/14 Wed – Tennessee Shines Radio Show at Boyd’s Jig and Reel – Knoxville, TN
2/15 Thu – The Station Inn – Nashville, TN
2/16 Fri – Atomic Cowboy – St. Louis, MO
2/17 Sat – Mike Kelly’s Westsider – Kansas City, MO
2/20 Tue – eTown – Boulder, CO *w/ Billy Strings
2/22 Thu – Cervantes Other Side – Denver, CO *w/ Old Salt Union & The Deer
2/23-24 Fri-Sat – WinterWondergrass CO – Steamboat Springs, CO
2/25 Sun – Steve’s Guitars – Carbondale, CO
2/28 Wed – Lefty’s Live Music – Des Moines, IA
3/1 Thu – The Famous Mockingbird – Marion, IA
3/2 Fri – Redstone Room at River Music Experience – Davenport, IA
3/3 Sat – Bourbon On Division – Chicago, IL
3/8 Thu – Gottrocks – Greenville, SC
3/9 Fri – Savannah Stopover Festival – Savannah, GA
3/22-25 Thu-Sun Suwannee Spring Reunion – Live Oak, FL
3/29 Thu – Zanzabar – Louisville, KY
3/31 Sat – Music at Murdock’s – Manhattan, KS
4/5-8 Thu-Sun – WinterWonderGrass – Olympic Park – North Lake Tahoe, CO
4/12-13 Thu-Fri – Bender Jamboree – Las Vegas, NV
4/17 Tue – Taos Mesa Brewing – El Prado, NM
4/20 Fri – Magnolia Motor Lounge – Fort Worth, TX
4/21 Sat – Old Settler’s Music Festival – Dale, TX
4/28 Sat – Some Kind Of Jam 13 – Schuylkill Haven, PA
5/25-26 Fri-Sat – DelFest – Cumberland, MD
5/31-6/1 Thu-Fri – John Hartford Music Festival – Bean Blossom, IN
7/20-22 Fri-Sun – Northwest String Summit – North Plains, OR

For more information and updates from the road, please visit www.jonstickley.com, www.facebook.com/JonStickleyTrio, www.instagram.com/jonstickleytrio, and www.twitter.com/jonstickleytrio

###

Read Full Post »

JS3 Option 1 Cred Heather Hambor.jpg

Tour Dates: Jon Stickley Trio Captivates Crowds
w/ Rapid-Fire Guitar, Sultry Violin & Drums

Jon Stickley Trio is excited to embark on tour for a plethora of shows this festival season! They have stops throughout the country including the White Squirrel Festival in North Carolina and Rooster Walk in Martinsville, Virginia this May. They kick off June in Nashville on their way St. Louis and then Colorado’s Front Range. Mid-June brings them back to the Southeast and they finish up the month at ROMP in Owensboro, Kentucky. In July, the Trio simmers in the Carolinas before making appearances at Red Wing Roots in Virginia and North West String Summit in Oregon. Mid-July sees their return to Colorado to the Dolores River Brewery and they close out the month in New Mexico and Texas before making their way back East in August with a notable show at Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage in Washington, DC. See the full list of dates below and stay tuned for more to be announced.

Jon Stickley Trio is making waves with the independent and fan-funded release of their 2nd album, Lost at Last [October 2015], which was produced by Dave King of The Bad Plus. The originality and sheer energy of this genre-bending ensemble serves as a welcome wake up call for those who experience it. With roots in gypsy jazz, bluegrass, and hip-hop in an “exhilarating all-acoustic swirl” (Acoustic Guitar Magazine), Jon Stickley Trio combines Jon Stickley’s rapid-fire flatpicking guitar with the sultry and wild, yet refined, melodies of Lyndsay Pruett on violin set over the deep groove of Patrick Armitage on drums.

The New York Times’ Nate Chinen writes “… there’s hardy cohesion among the players — no less on the Gypsy standard ‘Valse de Wasso’ than on ‘Darth Radar’ a turbocharged original with a ska upbeat and a shredding melody.” Premier Guitar Magazine took note of “Darth Radar,” calling it, “a rapid-fire take that moves from a serious ska beat to burning surf-style runs that would make Dick Dale proud.” They caught the attention of NPR’s Heavy Rotation, made an appearance on Nashville’s Music City Roots (where they performed three songs and received three standing ovations from packed audience), as well as recording with NPR’s World Cafe in the Trio’s hometown of Asheville, NC with live studio audience in a sold out show. It has been a whirlwind and the Trio is up for more with a new album they will record this winter.

Jon Stickley Trio On Tour 2016
5/27 Fri – White Squirrel Fest – Brevard, NC
5/28 Sat – Roosterwalk – Martinsville, VA
6/1 Wed – The Basement – Nashville, TN
6/2 Thu – The Bootleg at Atomic Cowboy’s LouGrass Thursday’s – St. Louis, MO
6/4 Sat – Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass – Pagosa, CO
6/8 Wed – Hodi’s Half Note – Ft. Collins, CO (with Front Country)
6/9 Thu – Cervantes – Denver, CO
6/10 Fri – Lazy Dog – Boulder, CO
6/16 Thu – Pickin’ in the Plaza – Raleigh, NC
6/18 Sat – The Getdown in Pumpkin Town – Marietta, SC
6/24 Fri – ROMP (late night set) – Owensboro, KY
7/6 Wed – Nantahala Brewing Co. – Bryson City, NC
7/7 Thu – Visulite Theatre – Charlotte, NC
7/9 Sat – Red Wing Roots – Mt. Solon, VA
7/12 Tue – NWSS Pre-Party- Nectar’s- Seattle, WA
7/14-16 Thu-Sat – NorthWest String Summit – North Plains, OR
7/20 Wed – Dolores River Brewery – Dolores River, CO
7/21 Thu – Crash Music – Aztec, NM
7/22 Fri – Taos Mesa Brewing – El Prado, NM
7/23 Sat – Private House Concert – Albuquerque, NM
7/28 Thu – Dosey Doe Music Cafe – Conroe, TX
7/29 Fri – Lamberts Downtown – Austin, TX
8/5 Fri – Secret Stages – Birmingham, AL
8/6 Sat – Boyd’s Jig & Reel – Knoxville, TN
8/11 Thu – American Tobacco – Durham, NC
8/12 Fri – Jimmy’s at Red Dogs – Wrightsville Beach, NC
8/13 Sat – Calico Room – Wilmington, NC
8/18 Thu – Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center – Washington, DC
8/21 Sun – The Rowayton Summer Music Festival – Rowayton, CT
8/24 Wed – Empire State Plaza Concert Series – Albany, NY
8/25 Thu – Joe’s Pub – New York, NY
9/24 Sat – Boats & Bluegrass – Winona, MN
9/29 Thu – Private House Concert – Traverse City, MI
9/30 Sat – Crooked Tree Arts – Petosky, MI
10/13-16 Thu-Sun Suwannee Roots Revival – Live Oak, FL

The Trio has produced two “official” music videos. “Point to Point“recently was awarded three prizes at the 2016 Music Video Asheville including Judges Choice, People’s Choice, and Best Soundtrack. Folk Alley premiered the video for “Rice Dream,” writing “Jon Stickley’s guitar harmonics and Lyndsay Pruett’s violin harmonics twine seamlessly together, creating an almost otherworldly atmosphere and the end result is a bit unnerving in its intensity.”

Jon Stickley Trio returned to the setting of where Lost at Last was recorded, Echo Mountain Recording Studios in Asheville, and performed for almost two hours for a live webcast on IAMAVL.com’s “Echo Sessions.” Watch the full show here →  http://bit.ly/Js3_Nov2015_IAMAVLEchoSessions_FullShow.

For forthcoming new about his next release, updates from the road, and tour dates, please visit www.facebook.com/JonStickleyTrio, www.instagram.com/jonstickleytrio, and www.twitter.com/StickleyMusic.

Read Full Post »

Photo 1 is by Scott Woody, photo 2 is by Simply Pickin' & the 3rd one is by Debbie Ryder

Photo 1 is by Scott Woody, photo 2 is by Simply Pickin’ & the 3rd one is by Debbie Ryder

Celebrating the Life and Music of Billy Constable at Isis
Thursday, Oct 8, 2015

7:30pm – 1:00am
743 Haywood Rd, West Asheville, North Carolina 28806
http://isisasheville.com/events/celebrating-the-life-and-times-of-billy-constable-2/

RSVP on Facebook here

Billy Constable was a well-known and much loved bluegrass musician from WNC who had been battling terminal brain cancer for the better part of a year. He lost his battle on Saturday, August 22nd, 2015.

His friends have organized a memorial event, The Billy Constable Memorial Jam, to honor this kind-hearted, talented man and the great contribution he has made to the music community of WNC and beyond. It will take place at Isis Restaurant and Music Hall in West Asheville on Thursday, October 8th from 7:30pm-1am.

“The outpouring of stories and memories online about Constable give an idea of the scope of a life dedicated to musical passion, and they tell the story of a kind, gentle soul, always willing to teach to anyone who wanted to learn,” writes Brian Swenk in Boone’s Mountain Times.

Included will be a memorial slideshow and a celebration of his life in a night of live music with Billy’s longtime musical compadres. We hope you will join us as we celebrate the rich legacy he has left us. Suggested donation is $10 at the door. Proceeds to benefit the Constable family. If you cannot make the show, but would like to donate, please do so at http://www.gofundme.com/nuj8ks

The lineup so far includes:
Sassagrass
Butch Robins
Steve McMurry (of Acoustic Syndicate)
Jon Stickley & Lyndsay Pruett (of Jon Stickley Trio)
Bearwallow (2015 MerleFest Band Competition Winners)
Amanda Platt (of The Honeycutters)
Taylor Martin
Sam Wharton
Darren Nicholson Band (of Balsam Range)
Blue Wheel Drive
Robert Greer (with members of Town Mountain)
Jim Rollins
Adam Masters
Billy Cardine
Bobby Miller
Jason and Jacob Burleson
Mary Lucey

more to be announced

More about Billy Constable:

Born March 23, 1959, Billy Constable was a well known and much loved musician from WNC.

Growing up in Avery county, he came from a rich lineage of musicians including; Lulu Belle and Scotty Wiseman, Lawrence Wiseman, David Wiseman, Fiddling Jimmy Wiseman, banjo picker Kent Wiseman, and Billy’s mother, Lois.

Billy formed his first band Leather Britches, and at the age of 14 he hit the road professionally joining Charlie Moore’s band in the early 1970’s. He went on to play with Doug Dillard and in the 80’s his family band The Constables was formed. They also appeared with the late great Rose Maddox in that band. In addition he played with Dick Tyner and Train 45, Ray Parks, and toured with Kenny Baker and Josh Graves.

In recent years he recorded with the Big Daddy Bluegrass Band with Steve McMurry, and Curtis Burch, Larry Keel, String Cheese Incident, Acoustic Forum, Hypnotic Clambake, and formed his own band Sassagrass.

He has shared the stage picking with; Vassar Clements, John Hartford, Butch Robins, Mac Wiseman, Leftover Salmon, Byron Berline, Sam Bush, Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Jim and Jesse, and the Osborne Brothers, to name a few.

Steeped in the rich knowledge of traditional bluegrass and Appalachian music, but reaching far beyond into gypsy jazz and other eclectic forms of music, he is well known as a musician’s musician.

A master of guitar, banjo, and mandolin, Billy has often been credited with teaching his musical compadres how to play and “play it right,” and we have all become better musicians and better people for knowing him.

Thank you Billy, for sharing your gift with us.  ~ written by Deb Ryder

Read Full Post »

Check out this nice interview with Larry Keel about playing with Danny Barnes that is in GoUpstate.com this week:

By JASON GILMER
For the Herald-Journal

Look through Larry Keel’s discography and it’s easy to see that the Virginia-based flat picking guitarist is fond of jamming with others.

He has made albums with several different groups, individual acts and his family.

Now, he’s making music with banjoist Danny Barnes.

The duo, along with Keel’s wife Jenny on bass, play at 9 p.m. Thursday at the Pisgah Brewing Company in Black Mountain, N.C.

“I love being able to present something new to the crowd,” Keel said. “Mixing it up keeps it fun for the crowd and for myself.”

He and Barnes met up several years ago at the Northwest String Summit Music Festival and have played together on several occasions.

Keel is a big fan of Barnes’ music.

“I love a chance to play music with Danny Barnes, I tell ya. He’s just the newest, greatest songwriter that I’ve heard,” Keel said.

. . .    . . .    . . .
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.goupstate.com/article/20111005/ARTICLES/110051036?p=2&tc=pg


 

Read Full Post »

Original, and from the soul, Larry Keel, an acoustic Americana flatpicker, delivers inventive bluegrass, country, jam rock, roots reggae and indie-alt while always honoring those that introduced Bluegrass and Mountain Music. When Larry and his brother Gary Keel team up, as they occasionally do for live shows and two albums in the past six years, expect lightning-fast flatpicking!

The Keel Brothers music is deeply rooted in their father Jim Keel’s generation and his musical tastes, drawing on selections from the earliest Stanley Brothers, Hank Williams, Doc and Merle Watson, Classic Country Gentlemen, fiddle tunes and flatpicking guitar tunes and old ballads that were always a part of the weekly “jam sessions” of the Keels’ large circle of Bluegrass picker-friends. It was Larry’s older brother Gary (older by 12 years) who taught him to play the guitar at age 7, and bought him his first instrument.

Read Full Post »


Original, and from the soul, Larry Keel, an acoustic Americana flatpicker, delivers inventive bluegrass, country, jam rock, roots reggae and indie-alt while always honoring those that introduced Bluegrass and Mountain Music. When Larry and his brother Gary Keel team up, as they occasionally do for live shows and two albums in the past six years, expect lightning-fast flatpicking!

The Keel Brothers music is deeply rooted in their father Jim Keel’s generation and his musical tastes, drawing on selections from the earliest Stanley Brothers, Hank Williams, Doc and Merle Watson, Classic Country Gentlemen, fiddle tunes and flatpicking guitar tunes and old ballads that were always a part of the weekly “jam sessions” of the Keels’ large circle of Bluegrass picker-friends. It was Larry’s older brother Gary (older by 12 years) who taught him to play the guitar at age 7, and bought him his first instrument.

The “Keel Brothers” project is a glimpse into the fantastic family energy that launched young Larry into virtuoso playing by the age of 17. Home Grown Music Network writes about the Keel Brothers album Volume 1, “Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of The Keel Brothers project is the happiness that pervades this recording. It is obvious that the Brothers are having a great time putting down into a permanent “record” these tunes that were absorbed during a youth spent in seizing every waking moment to play music: on the porch, in the kitchen while Mom’s cooking, at family and community picnics, cake walks, VFW benefits. And at night, while the rest of the family and the world’s asleep, Larry and Gary would be closed up in one of their bedrooms picking and recording long into the night.”

Listen to the Keel Brothers here.

Keel Brothers

John Allison Public House
Friday, June 24th, 2011

717-643-0218
104 E. BALTIMORE ST
Greencastle, PA 17225

Dante’s
Saturday, June 25th, 2011

301-639-1734
16 W.Main St.
Frostburg, MD 21532

Read Full Post »

Flatpicking guitar masters Larry Keel and his brother Gary perform tonight,  Saturday, March 12th at Bulls and Bears Pub in Hagerstown, MD.

Tune into this show live at 9pm on U-Stream. Special thanks to Jason Dragas for putting it all together!

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-keel-brothers

The KEEL BROTHERS consider that their music is deeply rooted in their father Jim Keel’s generation and his musical tastes, drawing on selections from the earliest Stanley Brothers, Hank Williams, Doc and Merle Watson, Classic Country Gentlemen, fiddle tunes and flatpicking guitar tunes and old ballads that were always a part of the weekly “jam sessions” of the Keels’ large circle of Bluegrass picker-friends. It was Larry’s older brother Gary (older by 12 years) who taught him to play the guitar at age 7, and bought him his first instrument. The “Keel Brothers” project is the long overdue glimpse into the fantastic family energy that launched young Larry into virtuoso playing by the age of 17.

Find out more about The Keel Brothers and their two albums at: http://larrykeel.com/discography/

Read Full Post »

Larry Keel and Natural Bridge just played a show at Ft Ashby in WV at the RoadHouse Pub. Jeff Henry from the Appalachian Independent got to sit down with Larry and ask a few questions.  Click here for the original post and a couple photos.

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

What was it like working at Tokyo Disneyland?

It was really cool. I learned a lot. A friend was living down in Florida, he sent me word up to Virginia that they were doing auditions for a bluegrass band to go to Tokyo Disneyland. It was something different, I was a mountain boy – had never been out of the mountains before so going to Tokyo was extremely exciting. We got our chops down – playing six shows a day. Each show was a half hour. We’d have a half hour off, then a half hour on. We did this for about six months.

Folks were intrigued by bluegrass and I was intrigued by the Japanese music. I like music (genres) of all flavors everywhere. With a lot of the soldiers being there during WWII there was a pretty big bluegrass following and interest in Tokyo. I met a lot of great musicians there.

What do you like to do while on tour?

I like to do a lot of stuff while on the road – like to sample the great food out there, visit friends all over the country, take in all of the sights like national parks. I like to fish as much as I can, if I have my fishing pole with me and there’s a mudhole somewhere, I’m liable to cast in it.

You’ve played festivals, theaters, pubs, and bars – what do you like about these venues and what brings you back to small towns?

I like all sorts of venues. I like to get a crowd in and get ’em focused in what we’re doing, take their minds off their troubles for a little while… and just have some fun and get the energy level up. No matter where you’re at, if you’re doing your job right (the crowd will love you). As far as coming back to small towns – I just love small town America. That’s what America is – it’s all the people you meet at these places, it’s a beautiful thing.

When will you be back in the area?

We’ll be up in Morgantown in the beginning of December (author note: December 11, 2010 at 123 Pleasant St). We’ll be back in Frostburg in February. I always advise everybody to check out our website (larrykeel.com). That’s what I do… I don’t know where I’m going to be half the time (laughs).

If you could jam with one musician, dead or alive, who would it be?

I’d probably want to play with Miles Davis. He had a whole lot of things figured out in a very simplistic and complicated way. I’m a big admirer of his music.
There are so many of them who have come and passed – Bill Monroe and Django Reignhardt. I try to pay my respects to them while I do my thing.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ORIGINAL POST AND VIEW PHOTOShttp://www.appindie.org/index.php/arts/84-arts-and-leisure/1799-five-questions-with-larry-keel?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed:+AppIndie-AllSections+(All+Articles+on+The+Appalachian+Independent)

Read Full Post »

Please visit the Home Grown Music Network’s site to vote for the best HGMN album of the year! THIEF is on the list– hint hint 😉

Check out this great review of Keller and the Keels, Thief, in Acoustic Guitar Magazine this month!

Who knew Amy Winehouse’s neo-soul hit “Rehab” would make a great bluegrass burner? On this mischievous collection of covers by jam-man Keller Williams with flatpicker Larry Keel and upright bassist Jenny Keel, a follow-up to their 2006’s Grass, the trio also tackles the Grateful Dead’s tripped-out “Mountains of the Moon,” Cracker’s cheeky “Teen Angst.” and more stylistically straightforward fare such as Kris Kristofferson’s “Don’t Cuss the Fiddle” and Danny Barnes’s “Get It While You Can.” Williams takes the mando role in this group, adding the bluegrass chops not on an actual mandolin but on a high-tuned Veillette mini-12-string guitar with the top two string courses removed. That leaves plenty of sonic room for Larry Keel’s superfine flatpicking runs and cross-picked rolls, played on a Santa Cruz OM and recorded in sumptuous acoustic detail. In keeping with the repertoire, the vibe of Thief is loose and playful, with all the tracks performed live except for harmony vocals. The trio indulges in a bit of space jamming but overall keeps a light focus on this odd and witty batch of songs, proving along the way that the grass is green out in left field. (SCI Fidelity)

-JEFFREY PEPPER RODGERS

TO SEE THE ORIGINAL POST PLEASE VISIT ACOUSTIC GUITAR MAGAZINE: http://www.acousticguitar.com/article/default.aspx?articleid=25669

Remember to visit the Home Grown Music Network’s site to vote for the best HGMN album of the year! THIEF is on the list– hint hint 😉 http://www.homegrownmusic.net/form/vote-for-the-hgmn-2010-album-of-the-year

Read Full Post »

Check out this fantastic Larry Keel and Natural Bridge live show review by Rex Thompson with Music Marauders. I have posted excerpts  and a couple of the image from the full review below.  Please do click on any of the images or links below to read the full review and see all the great pics!

LKNB Photo by Rex Thompson with Music Marauders

Live show review: Larry keel and Natural Bridge at the Play Café in Cincinnati, OH 6.26.2010
Words and pictures by Rex Thomson

www.MusicMaurauders.com

LKNB by Rex Thompason with Music Maurauders

Any chance to see Larry Keel flat out blow people away with his flat picking fret board style and his coarse as a bear vocals is a chance you should take. When I found out he was going to be playing the Play by play Café in Cincinnati toward the end of June, I circled my calendar with a fat red Sharpie…

…Keel is considered, and rightly so in my eyes, one of the finest flatpicking guitarists alive. The Style, begun sometime in the early twentieth century, has the guitar pick held firmly between two or three fingers, and uses a wider, flatter tipped pick.

….After the show, he asked me how it sounded, the mix and the playing. Reassuring him that the sound was indeed balanced and the picking was clear and fiery he smiled. I then realized that all the fiery playing I had just witnessed was from a couple of musicians fighting illness [this is explained more in the full review], and at best 70 percent of their usual health! Man alive, if this is how good he’s sounding now, hobbled by sickness, I’m almost scared to see the man healthy! We might have been spared mass brain destruction in the club that night. The staff is still scraping up melted faces as it is! And speaking of which, I’d like to take this opportunity to mention my newest venture, Rex’s Melted face removal and restoration. I will have crews working clubs from coast to coast, going in and cleaning and reattaching faces melted clean off by the wizardry of Mr. Keel and some of the other magnificent touring acts out there. Phish tour alone should let me retire! But I digress…

The crowd filed in and pushed up front, ready for something special, and boy howdy, were they in luck. The trio of Larry and Jenny Keel, and mandolinist Mark Schimick took the stage, and after a few last minute tunings, launched into the stratosphere of Bluegrass, calling out Bill Monroe and the Watson boys, and giving the legends their due.

The frantic pace he was keeping had its toll on more than just his health. The tunings of instruments is a fine one, and when playing Bluegrass, a skill you get to practice regularly, as the crazed strumming can play havoc on strings and their tightness. Taking a moment to correct his sound his wife Jenny quipped “It was in tune when ya bought it!” The beatings bluegrass instruments take is astounding. But it’s not all arms flailing as they strum away. There were moments of awesome focus and considerable concentration, as Keel would stand stock still, eyes squozen shut, totally lost to the outside world. The world could have ended right there and then I a ball of fire, and while there was still muscle tissue left on his fingers, Larry Keel would have been picking out those runs, tearing up and down the neck of his guitar like some sort of machine, built to tear up and down the neck of a guitar! But, like John Henry before him, he would burn out the motor of any mechanical device paired against him! His wife Jenny imparts a deepness, a richness of undertone to all these pickings. A weight, a sense of surety that keeps the high flying guitar notes from reaching to high, establishing a bottom end to Larry and Mark’s soaring highs!

Speaking of the mandolin player, Mark, and accompanists in general, it seems that the Keels are not just some of the nicest people in the biz, they are musically very easy to work with. From Keller Williams to Yonder Mountain to whoever is lucky enough to have him be in the area! I have seen Schimick strum his mandolin next to Larry, but this was a special session it seemed. The blend between the two was special, and echoed to an extent later in the Rumpke Mountain set. Maybe it was something in the air, or in my ear, but the collaborations between the two were epic. Twice, Jenny left the stage so the boys could “Pick on one” for us and twice it was magic. A fun Peter Tosh cover thrown in for good measure, and then Larry attempted a local remedy for his illness. Strengthened by the snake oil, Larry invited the Rumpke Boys up to join him for some picking and grinning. A once round the circle jam became a twice round the circle jam and Larry grew as animate as I saw him that night. Buoyed by the energy of his now full stage of pickers and grinners, he seemed to fill into his full form and wowed all who were there with his skills. The smiles on the faces of those onstage matched the smiles of those in the crowd, and the hoedown that was the first set ended on an uproarious note!


… And so I say with all the passion I can muster go see Larry Keel pick ya a number, go hear the Rumpke fellers funk up some of the all time greats. You have my word you’ll be glad you did!

READ THE FULL REVIEW AND SEE ALL THE IMAGES HERE: http://www.musicmarauders.com/2010/07/larry-keel-rumpke-mountain-boys.html

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »