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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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Have a very Keel Christmas Yawl!

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ATTENTION: THIS SHOW (Casbah Durham Dec 17th)HAS BEEN CANCELLED due to The Keels being snowed in in Virginia; however, we did want to post the article as an archive for you all to enjoy!

Bluegrass at the Casbah with Keel

THE HERALD-SUN, DURHAM, N.C. | DAWN BAUMGARTNER VAUGHAN | Thu, Dec 16, 6:56 PM

READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE

Dec. 16–Longtime flatpicking guitar playing bluegrassman Larry Keel thinks just about any song could be turned into a bluegrass song.

“I believe whether a Miles Davis song or a reggae song, the bluegrass sort of creeps in there. Though your hardcore purists might say no,” said Keel in a phone interview from his home in Lexington, Va., on the side of a mountain.

Tonight he’ll be at Casbah in Durham with his band Natural Bridge, which features his wife Jenny Keel on upright bass and Mark Schimick on mandolin. Larry Keel and Natural Bridge is named for the, well, the natural bridge that’s a wonder of nature and tourist stop in southwestern Virginia. Keel lived in the community of Natural Bridge for 15 years before moving to Lexington. The group’s last record was “Backwoods.”

Over the course of Keel’s career, he’s played with several groups — Magraw Gap, the Larry Keel Experience, the Keel Brothers and Keller & the Keels.

Keller & the Keels is composed of Larry and Jenny Keel with Keller Williams . Their latest, out this year, is “Thief.” It’s filled with covers of songs that seem a natural segue to their Americana sound — like the Grateful Dead’s “Mountains of the Moon” — to songs you didn’t know could be bluegrass, like “Pepper” by the Butthole Surfers, “Bath of Fire” by Presidents of the USA and “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse.

Larry Keel said that the song choices were Williams’.

“I’m just glad to be a part of it, to put it out there to kids who might not normally hear it,” Keel said. In recent years new bluegrass bands have veered from playing only traditional tunes.

“I sort of look at it as bluegrass has to change to keep it growing. I see younger groups trying to turn their age groups on to bluegrass by playing songs they know in a bluegrass fashion, and therefore preserving bluegrass,” he said.

Keel plays a little bit of all of it — traditional, originals and covers.

“With my style of traditional bluegrass, I do a lot of writing and always try to write something new from something that inspires me — people I meet, all the places I go to,” he said. Fishing, too, is part of the experience.

“It’s a very Zen-like activity, very magical. You’re concentrating on one focused-type thing, and music is like that,” Keel said.

Keel said that as he grows older, he definitely takes his music very seriously, but not too serious.

“I try to keep an audience happy,” he said. “It’s nice to uplift them when they come out to a show, and I get back that good energy.”

Keel has his own youtube channel,http://www.youtube.com/user/Larrykeelmusic. Keel will be back in North Carolina again for a New Year’s Eve show in Charlotte with Keller & the Keels.

READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE

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ATTENTION: THIS SHOW HAS BEEN CANCELLED> The Keels are snowed in in Virginia…

Nice post about this Friday’s Larry Keel and Natural Bridge show at the Casbah in Durham Dec 17th. See the original post in Durham Magazine and also other happenings in the Durham area this weekend.

Larry Keel and Natural Bridge — This powerful and innovative acoustic Americana ensemble will perform two sets Friday at Casbah. The show starts at 8pm. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 the day of the show. For more information call 687-6969 or click here1007 W. Main St.

Check out one of Larry Keel and Natural Bridge’s performances below.

There’s another post about the show in  Triangle Arts and Entertainment.

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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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Image by Neal with the Strutting Duck

Larry Keel and Natural Bridge are heading out for an Alabama Getaway this weekend! The first stop is tonight at 4:30pm CST/ 5:30 EST into Wildman Steve’s Radio Station! They’ll be doing a live session; you can tune in at www.wildmansteve.com.

Tonight’s show (Fri 11/19) is at the print shop/ venue The Standard Deluxe in Waverly, Alabama with the Bibb City Ramblers! You can find out more in the Corner News and on Facebook.  Then, on Saturday, they move on to the Workplay Theater in Birmingham and head on to play Callahan’s in Mobile on Sunday!

Here is an excerpt of the Corner News article:

——————————————————————————–

Guitar great collaborates in Waverly

by Andrew R. Jones
As far as flat-pickin’ guitar goes, Larry Keel is second to none. The bearded guitar legend has been wowing audiences since a young age and has the credentials to prove it.Born and raised in Southern Virginia, Keel was reared on some of the oldest music that America had to offer. When his Dad and brother began giving him guitar lessons before he was 10 he immediately took to the instrument and the rest is history. 

Keel’s recent collaboration with Natural Bridge has spawned two albums of original, high-spirited bluegrass. The group is currently touring in support of their most recent album, “Backwoods,” a collection of tunes that take traditional mountain bluegrass jams and turns them on their head.
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Here’s a video to get you ready for this flatpickin’ weekend!

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Check out some great video footage from the recent SouthEast tour with Larry Keel and Adam Aijala

Larry Keel & Adam Aijala, from Yonder Mountain String Band, perform a duo acoustic show at the Shepherdstown Opera House in Shepherdstown, WV on 5/5/10.

This segment includes:
Intro by Bob Keel
Cattle In The Cane

djones2125

Larry Keel & Adam Aijala, from Yonder Mountain String Band, perform a duo acoustic show at the Shepherdstown Opera House in Shepherdstown, WV on 5/5/10.

This segment includes:
Pioneers
The Man That Only You Could Love

djones2125

Larry Keel & Adam Aijala, from Yonder Mountain String Band, perform a duo acoustic show at the Shepherdstown Opera House in Shepherdstown, WV on 5/5/10.

This segment includes:
Mountain Song

djones2125

Larry Keel & Adam Aijala, from Yonder Mountain String Band, perform a duo acoustic show at the Shepherdstown Opera House in Shepherdstown, WV on 5/5/10.

This segment includes:
Tear Stained Eye

djones2125

May 11, 2010 — Larry Keel & Adam Aijala, from Yonder Mountain String Band, perform a duo acoustic show at the Shepherdstown Opera House in Shepherdstown, WV on 5/5/10.

This segment includes:
Amos Moses

djones2125

Taken a show at Triad Stage in Greensboro, NC.

travisncs

Night out with Larry keel And Adam Aijala after a day of sells with the Down The Street Bead Show in Charleston South Carolina this past sunday……..This is the first of two encores for the night……..

johnwroberts1972

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