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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.

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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

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Here’s a great Q & A with Larry Keel in Awaiting the Flood that was posted over the holidays.

(Way More Than) 12 Questions with Larry Keel

By Lindsey Grossman in Awaiting the Flood

Alt-grass legend and flatpicking guitar genius Larry Keel has been a busy guy this year. Keel launched a new website, Fishin’ and Pickin’, as well as a facelift of LarryKeel.com, complete with new music releases and daily fishing reports.

Keel played a full summer schedule, hitting the biggest and best festivals and events across America, performing as Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, Keller and the Keels, Keel and Adam Aijala, Jeff Austin and The Keels, Magraw Gap, and other interesting and irresistible collaborations.

We caught up with the legendary Keel via email during his tour right before the holidays to talk about life on the road with his fabulous wife, collaborating with Keller, and of course, ATF’s infamous 12 questions.

How would you describe your brand of bluegrass?
Original, and from the soul.

Old and young alike flock to your shows. How do you account for such an eclectic base of both traditional and progressive bluegrass fans?
Must be because our music has soul and creates happiness… that’s our goal anyway.

We see you have some tour dates scheduled with your brother. How does it feel to share the stage with the guy who gave you your first guitar and taught you how to play?
Playing with Gary is always a true honor, and it’s always so REAL… it’s the best.

What’s it like to tour with your wife (who plays a mean upright base, by the way)? Any secrets to having a happy marriage on the road?
We always knew from the git-go that we wanted to work together, whatever the work was gonna end up being. It’s a blessing to be able to play music together, travel everywhere together. No secret to pass on to you about it all, we just want to enjoy life.

Your latest collaboration with Keller Williams, “Thief,” came out earlier this year with quite the proverbial grab bag of cover songs. How did you decide which songs to cover?
That was all Keller’s doing. We just go in there after a bit of rehearsal and hangin’ out together, and then we record what he’s arranged for us. We trust him entirely to make awesome choices… he never disappoints.

We love your beard! How long have you had it? Have you ever been tempted to shave it off?
I’ve had a full beard since I was 16, but I’ve shaved it many times, had all kinds of looks. But the beard is pretty much a trademark.

And the Infamous 12 Questions:

1. What’s for supper?
This week we’ve had large mouth bass that I caught, and a deer roast that my buddy Will Lee shared with us (plenty more of both in the freezer) along with lots of my mom’s garden vegetables and herbs from this year’s canning and freezing.

2. List five items currently in your refrigerator (or if you’re on the road: cooler, glove compartment, backpack, suitcase).
Guitar strings, sunglasses, coffee, nutritional yeast and Tums.

3. Fitzgerald or Hemingway?
Hemingway.

4. What are you listening to and reading these days?
Danny Barnes and the local paper.

. . . Read Questions 5-11 at the original post . . .

12. What’s next for Larry Keel?
Tons of surprises.

READ THE ORIGINAL POST HERE: http://awaitingtheflood.com/q-and-a-with-larry-keel/

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Thorough and fun interview with Larry Keel by NICK HARRAH For The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington. Nick also wrote a great review of Keller & the Keels “Thief” as well. Check out the album review here.

Below are long excerpts from the interview:

The holidays are a time for being thankful, being with family and friends and maybe doing some charity. It’s all these things too for flatpicking guitar master Larry Keel.

Talking over the phone the day before Thanksgiving from the mountains of Southwest Virginia, Keel, like many others this time of year, talked about being home for the holidays; thankfulness, charity and family came up right away.

Talk about progressive-yet-traditional bluegrass, touring with his wife and bassist Jenny Keel, and an insurance policy on his near-iconic beard, also came up.

Keel, with his band, Natural Bridge (Jenny Keel: bass/vocals; Mark Schimick: mandolin/vocals) and the help of his brother, his old friend Will Lee, are playing more than a few charity events over the holiday season.

Supporting causes ranging from a domestic violence shelter, to Toys For Tots, to a no-kill animal shelter benefit at the end of the month with his longtime friend and collaborator, the Fredericksburg, Va.-based “one-man jam band” Keller Williams, for Keel, already established as a kind of bluegrass deity for his fiery pickin’, it’s great to lend his music to great causes.

“It’s wonderful,” Keel said of playing the various benefit shows. “I really want to do as many of those as I can each and every year. It’s just special. I’m just extremely blessed and fortunate to be able take what I do and translate that across to people who are in need this time of year.”

Playing with Williams, whether it’s covering other people’s songs on “Grass” and “Thief,” or having Williams produce Keel’s 2009 record “Backwoods,” or playing some dude’s couch like they did for a contest this year, is always great, Keel said. Learning and playing a few of the 13 cover songs on “Thief” was a fun challenge for Keel.

“He picked out all the tunes and showed us versions of ’em and we got his arrangements down and went out and performed ’em,” he said. “A lot of the songs I’d never heard the original versions of, like (Marcy Playground’s) ‘Sex and Candy.’ We’d go out and play ’em and people would be singing along and I’d be like ‘I guess I’m the odd man out.’ I didn’t even know any of the words,” Keel said laughing. “We just had a great time being spontaneous.”

The most immediate shows were set to be ones with his older brother Gary, and Larry talked about the early influence on him.

“He bought me a guitar when I was 8 years old, and taught me how to play melodies and rhythm guitar and all that,” he said. “After all these years, getting to get back together to play shows with him over the holidays, it’s one of the most special times of the year for me. It’s super special.”

Talking about his exposure to progressive bluegrass and his incorporation of that into his love of traditional bluegrass, Keel explained how it all came together.

“Well, you know, I’ve always loved bluegrass, that’s definitely always been the heart and soul of my music,” he said. “But from an early age I’ve liked all kinds of music. From jazz to reggae to blues and rock and roll, of course. I guess listening to it so much and loving all those different styles, it just kind of crept into my music. Kind of infected it, in a good way, you know?

“I just love every kind of music. Well, most of it. This new country or new rock developed for record sales, it just doesn’t have a heart or a soul.”

Keel and Natural Bridge are joined by Keel’s old friend Will Lee from Keel’s first band, Magraw Gap, formed in the early 90’s.

“Will has come back out on the road with Natural Bridge and will be at the V Club show and at 123 as well,” he said. “We’ve been really excited about that. Will and I have been playing music together for 25 years or more, and there’s a great chemistry there; we read each other really well.”

New music is on tap for Keel and Natural Bridge in 2011, Keel said. The band will be releasing digital downloads of new songs off Keel’s website. And as Keel brings his bluegrass into the digital age, and as the fans change the way the industry works, Keel changes with them.

“It seems like a lot of the bands and the music industry itself has changed so much, just in the last five years,” he said. “People aren’t buying CDs like they used to; people all have iPods or a computer and can pick their favorite four songs off a record for 99 cents apiece. So we’re getting on that train. On my website we’ll have a whole page dedicated to 99 cent downloads where I’ll be releasing a new song every 30 days or so. So we can take our time with, produce correctly and release the real version we want to release, so we can have something fresh out there.”

And as Keel keeps putting his own contemporary spin on traditional bluegrass, looking back, he realizes making music is what he was bound to do.

“I heard a quote one time, some musician once said they can’t see themselves doing anything else,” he said. “It’s what I’ve always known I wanted to do.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.herald-dispatch.com/life/x846271976/Larry-Keel-brings-band-to-the-V-Club-to-support-various-charities?i=0

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All year long, Larry and Jenny Keel & friends support lots of great causes including the cause AGAINST mountaintop removal with Appalachian Voices; pick up an “I Love Mountains” sticker at one of their shows!  Last weekend, on Nov 27th, Larry and his brother Gary Keel played the Annual Toys for Tots Party to benefit the Rappahannock Council on Domestic Violence. The Keels are involved in two other music-filled benefits for the holiday season as well -see below for press release details- please join them if you’re in the areas!

The Work’s 9th Annual Christmas Jam Benefit Show Saturday, December 18th

The Greenville based, six-piece band The Work return to The Handlebar again for their 9th Annual Christmas Jam Benefit Show, an Upstate tradition since 2002. This Feature Holiday Event will take place on Saturday, December 18, 2010 at The Handlebar in Greenville, SC and all proceeds raised go to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas, a “home away from home for families of critically ill children receiving treatment at area hospitals.”

This year’s Christmas Jam will feature music by The Work, with performances by a veritable treasure trove of guest musicians. And this is part of the allure of the event, the ever changing line-up of musicians. According to Craig Sorrells, “every Christmas Jam brings great memories for me with the completely unusual arrangement of musicians that come and perform with us.” The band is very excited about this year’s line- up as it includes such world renowned musicians as: Larry & Jenny KeelCurtis Burch (New Grass Revival), Tom Gray (Delta Moon), and many more to be announced. Also joining this year will be several regional & local musicians including, but not limited to the Shane Pruitt BandDoug Jones (Cravin’ Melon), Jonathan LloydJeff HollandViolet & The Beauredarde’sTez Sherrard, plus many others. As well, there will be special surprise guest musicians making appearances during Christmas Jam.

In its previous 8 years of operation, The Work’s Christmas Jam has raised $40,000 for local charities.

www.handlebar-online.com
_______________________________________________________________

Keller Williams’10th Annual SPCA Benefit on Sunday December 26th

Before the NYE run kicks-off, Keller Williams brings his three-set extravaganza to his hometown of Fredericksburg, VA for his annual holiday concert to benefit the SPCA. To celebrate the ten year anniversary of the event, which will take place on December 26 at the Fredericksburg Field House, Keller has invited local marching band Elby Brass to join the show for set break music. 100% of the concert’s profits will go to support The Fredericksburg Regional SPCA. Less than 3% of The Fredericksburg Regional SPCA’s budget is received from the City of Fredericksburg, forcing the branch to rely almost solely on individual and corporate donations and fundraising events like this. The Fredericksburg Regional SPCA is a “no-kill” shelter whose mission is to tackle the problem of pet overpopulation through education, adoption, rehabilitation and spay/neuter.
  • Set I will be reggae, dub and funk versions of Keller favorites with Jay Starling on keys, Mark D on drums and Keller on bass
  • Set II will feature the bluegrass stylings of Larry Keel on guitar and his wife Jenny on bass with Keller playing his mini twelve-string (wanna-be mandolin) guitar.
  • And Set III will be old school Keller on acoustic guitar with his trademark looped-out dance grooves. Big screen video visuals will be provided by Scott Sunn.
Find out more about Keller’s holiday tour here.

Show Specifics:
Sunday, Dec. 26th, 2010
Fredericksburg Regional SPCA Benefit
Fredericksburg Field House in Fredericksburg, VA
Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm
$25, All ages
www.fredfieldhouse.com

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Great preview in the Fredericksburg Freelance Star about Larry Keel and Natural Bridge’s upcoming show at the Otterhouse this Saturday, September 11th.

FLAT-PICKERS WITH LOCAL ROOTS REMAIN AT THE FOREFRONT OF PROGRESSIVE BLUEGRASS

Keel’s local bluegrass roots branch out in many directions

Date published: 9/9/2010

BY RYAN GREEN

FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR

Most area residents are aware of the numerous national claims to fame our local bluegrass musicians have made. Yet, some may be unaware that perhaps the most prolific and progressive flat-picker performing today spent many nights picking away in and around Fredericksburg.

Photo by Bright Life Photography

For the versed and unversed alike, on Saturday night Larry Keel and his band, Natural Bridge, will rock The Otter House and demonstrate why his act is consistently touted as the hottest, most provocative and most entertaining bluegrass band of this decade.

Growing up in Warrenton, Keel frequently played the open-mic nights at the Irish Brigade (located in the same spot that The Otter House now calls home). As he made connections with other local musicians, he spearheaded a healthy progressive-bluegrass scene in the Fredericksburg area with his band Magraw Gap and later the Larry Keel Experience.

Becoming increasingly more renowned for his flat-picking virtuosity, Keel claimed several first-place prizes during the mid-’90s at Telluride competitions, which for all intents and purposes are the World Cup of bluegrass.

In 2005, Keel formed his much lauded band Natural Bridge with his wife, Jenny Keel, on string bass and Mark Schimick on mandolin. Their latest release, “Backwoods” (2009) is a course in the direction the Keels are leading the bluegrass scene, which is to say they are taking the scene somewhere new. It is a must listen for anyone claiming to be tuned to the motions of country/bluegrass music. Within, you find the complexity and virtuosic instrumentation of traditional bluegrass in the vein of Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs–but the comparisons need not go much further.

In a recent phone interview, Jenny Keel remarked on the band’s determination to go beyond traditional bluegrass.

“We put a lot of energy into honoring the forefathers of bluegrass. They were the original alternative music makers of their time,” said Jenny Keel. “But bluegrass has to grow, it has to evolve. None of the greats in the last three generations have stayed true to the Monroe-Scruggs way.”

Indeed, the Keels’ original tunes stand alone in a genre driven by the cover. The melodies, grounded by Larry Keel’s uniquely deep timbre, are backed in places by overhanging Tom Petty- esque harmonies and the pulse of Jenny Keel’s quiet-yet-strong bass playing. Meanwhile, both Larry Keel and Schimick set the standard for virtuosic picking throughout by melding classic bluegrass runs with elements of rock, gypsy jazz and the blues. In the end, progressive bluegrass may be an understatement, but it is clear that what the Keels are doing is progress.

The Keels also recently released their equally acclaimed second album as Keller and the Keels–a collaboration with hometown hero Keller Williams–titled “Thief.” This genre-bending album is a collection of covers (e.g., Amy Winehouse, Marcy Playground) that existed beyond the canon of bluegrass before Williams rearranged and captured them with the able hands of the Keels behind him. This album’s astounding success is an indication of how the branches of bluegrass are outgrowing its roots in our mountainous landscape and becoming, in some ways, a form of pop music.

While some traditionalists fear these changes, the Keels fully support them. For the most part, it is through this growth that the youth of today are learning about the wonderful music our area has produced for hundreds of years.

Larry’s attitude (in the words of Jenny Keel) is, “If I’m out there doing my thing and I throw in a Bob Marley tune, then I’ve got them listening. Then I lay on a full-on mountain song, like a Ralph Stanley song. Then I’ve got them to listen to Ralph Stanley when they might never have heard it.”

For this Saturday’s show, fans should arrive, as cliched as it is to say, expecting the unexpected.

“Larry grew up with a bunch of pickers, and there is likely to be some crazy hijinks beyond our Natural Bridge format,” said Jenny Keel.

Rumors have it that Will Lee (son of Ricky Lee, the Ralph Stanley-backing legend) and Gary Keel, Larry’s brother, will be in attendance, and likely onstage.

To be sure, the same creativity and cohesion that drive the constant evolution of this band will be present. Count in the virtuosic musicians and the feel-good atmosphere of the Otter House and this show becomes a bargain too sweet to pass up.

Ryan Green is a freelance writer and musician in Richmond. Reach him at
Email: ryugreen@yahoo.com.

Read original ==>> Fredericksburg.com – >> FLAT-PICKERS WITH LOCAL ROOTS REMAIN AT THE FOREFRONT OF PROGRESSIVE BLUEGRASS – page 2 FLS http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2010/092010/09092010/573655/index_html?page=2#ixzz0z3SFWhbw

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Larry and Gary Keel are doing their annual benefit/party show for the good people in the Fredericksburg/Culpeper area of Virginia… wonderful Holiday spirit!!

Keel Bros

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.

Listen to the Keel Brothers here.


Keel Brothers Toys For Tots Holiday Benefit Concert!
Friday November 27th, 2009

PARTY AND POT LUCK

Richardsville FirehallL
29361 Elys Ford Road
Richardsville Va 22736

*Free show, but bring an unwrapped GIFT for child, teenager, or adult woman
*Bring a covered dish for the potluck, 6-8pm Music 8:30-11, BYOB


For directions, info and RSVP, contact: Michelle Kozlowski 540-538-7761 Sapphire124@verizon.net

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