Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Keels’

Below is an excerpt from Mousike Magazine about Keller Williams and his bluegrass project with Larry and Jenny Keel. It is a really in depth and long article on Keller musical influences and project. I have posted below  the paragraphs about Keller and the Keels.  For more on Keller Williams and his one man jam band, his Colorado connection, other fun side projects and more, please do check out the full original post here:  http://mousikemagazine.com/2010/12/biscuits-in-his-gravy-keller-williams/

Biscuits in his Gravy: Keller Williams

Written By Clay Hall

For many of you, Keller Williams needs no introduction. But for anyone left out there who hasn’t heard of Keller, seen his ledendary solo act or followed his many other incarnations, well… I guess I’ve got some ‘splaining to do. Yet how the hell do you write a quick intro about a guy who has just released his 16th album (his first geared towards children), hosts his own syndicated radio show, has five side-projects listed on his website, recently published his first children’s book and is currently touring with a three-piece bluegrass outfit to promote an album of cover songs from artists as diverse as Kris Kristofferson, Amy Winehouse and Marcy Playground? It’s been said that his “Entire career seems like a eries of side projects.” ….

THIEF

Photo by Melissa Colombo

The Keels is one of Keller’s more recent projects, but it could be said that it was 20-some years in the making. Keller began playing seriously with Larry and Jenny Keel in 2004, and in 2006 they teamed up for the bluegrass album not surprisingly titled GRASS, but their friendship and musical collaboration goes back to 1991 when they were all involved in the local Fredricksburg music scene. Larry was playing in a band called Fizzawah, a side-car to his main oufit McGraw Gap and Keller would sit in, and vice versa.

Though they lived a few hours apart in Virginia, it never kept them from getting together for an afternoon jam when they had the time, and Larry also had his own connections to Colorado in the newly formed Leftover Salmon’s original banjo player Mark Vann (a TBF winner himself). Keel and Vann had been friends since they first met in ’89 and formed a bluegrass outfit called Farmer’s Trust and in 1993 Vann convinced Larry to come out to Colorado for the Telluride Bluegrass Festival where Larry surprised even himself by winning the flatpicker’s contest. “I was completely surprised, because there was wonderful talent in the whole thing, you know. Just seeing all that and getting to take in Colorado was prize enough. It’s kept me coming back for years.” Keel says about the mountains and the music during that first visit.

And fortunate we are to have enjoyed those visits over the years. With an unofficial title of ‘Bluegrass Legend and Master Fisherman’, Larry is considered one of the best flatpickers on the planet. Steeped in the old-timey and with a gravelly voice as deep and rich as mooshine on a riverbank, it’s a nice complement to Williams’ smooth-as-silk delivery. Larry’s flat-picking style is as seamless as it is gymnastic and he’s a master at simulating banjo rolls, mandolin runs or even parts that you would normally hear played on a fiddle.

The bridge between Keller and Larry is provided by Larry’s wife Jenny on the upright bass. Born into the bluegrass tradition herself and a young enthusiast, Larry and Jenny met at a bluegrass festival and were soon playing together anywhere and everywhere they could.

The whole album couldn’t flow any better, managing to create a commonality and a cohesiveness to the scattershot playlist. On youtube I found videos of the trio playing songs from THIEF alongside the gentle Rappahannock river in Virginia and the chemistry between the three is captured perfectly. Keller leading the way, at times chopping hardwood, other times throwing in his fluid and almost a-rythmic rolls and fills. Larry charges up and down the neck with his unique style of rollicking flatpicking while the beautiful Jenny Keel ties it all together with her solid timing and gentle attack, sometimes drifting off with a wistful smile, but always keeping one eye on Keller and watching out for his surprises. These videos are a testament to the essence of bluegrass, the depth of their friendship, and that good warm feeling of fraternity that only bluegrass music and good whiskey can produce. It is obvious that these people have nowhere else to be, and nothing else they’d rather be doing than playing music together.

Speaking of their friendship and collaboration with Keller, Larry says, “I’ll tell ya’, he’s always amazed me with his creativity and his ideas and the directions he heads with all of his playin’ as far as not just your typical cover songs or his original material, he’s always got a surprise in there for ya’. His rythm capability is as good as it gets, it’s the best I know of and I just love playing music with him you know, it really fires me up. We tend to read each other like a book now, it’s pretty awesome.”

And when it comes to the diverse origins of the material, the legend from Natural Bridge, Virginia says, “You know with a lot of these songs off of THIEF, me not being the big radio listener of popular music, I hadn’t heard of any of the songs that were on the CD. It was hilarious, we rehearsed ‘em and got ‘em all down and had ‘em tight and then we go out to play these shows in front of thousands of people… and everyone’s singing the words to them. I feel like the odd man out in weird way, but we put our touch on ‘em and I’m real happy to be a part of it.”

It’s easy to get caught up in those cover songs, the diversity of the source material and the unlikliness of it all.  Pickin’ on the Butthole Surfers? Amy Winehouse on corn liquor rather than crack? And who the hell are the Presidents of the United States of America, anyway? But the reality is that this is damn good bluegrass from any angle, and as far as the art of taking other artist’s songs and making them your own while still allowing the songwriting to shine through on its own merits, it is brilliant. These folks are impeccable at playing these songs, without once ever getting in the way of the songs themselves, and I can only imagine that the original artists are delighted to see their material handled with such dexterity and humility.

When I ask Keller how they chose the material for the album, it becomes clear why the choices were so succesful. “You know, a handful of those songs were road tested by the Keels and I and we definitely played them live for a couple of years before we recorded them, so that was really easy to choose those. Others were road tested by me solo and then there were a few others that we put together right there in the studio that I thought were really cool. Like the Raconteurs song, the original is very rockin’… if you listen to the words it’s kind of like one of those old bluegrass murder ballads and it works really well bluegras. It was all about the songs I knew that people would either know and sing along to, or like even if they were hearing it for the first time.”

This album proves beyond doubt that digital technology can and does capture that analog magic, as long as the magic is there to begin with, and in my mind cements Keller Williams as an incredibly talented producer. The irony is that this album is anything but a ripoff. Though it may be other folks that writ the songs, each one is left improved upon, the paradox being that Keller, Larry and Jenny bring out each song’s hidden potential by stripping them down to volume, tempo and timbre. If Keller wasn’t stuck on one-word album titles he might as well have called this record “Pimp My Song – Mountaingrass Edition”.

READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE:  http://mousikemagazine.com/2010/12/biscuits-in-his-gravy-keller-williams/

Read Full Post »


Today, Keller Williams releases his first-ever all-covers collection, amusingly titled Thief. Recorded with the Keels—husband and wife duo Larry and Jenny KeelThief includes songs originally written and recorded by as wildly diverse an assemblage as anyone’s ever likely to dream up.

Thief offers up Keller-versions of songs by an [almost] unthinkable collection of artists: from Amy Winehouse (“Rehab”) to the Grateful Dead (“Mountains of the Moon”), the Butthole Surfers (“Pepper”) to Kris Kristofferson (“Don’t Cuss That Fiddle,” which opens the album, and “The Year 2003 Minus 25,” which closes the album). The set is filled out with tunes by Ryan Adams, the Presidents of the United States of America, the Raconteurs, Patterson Hood, Danny Barnes, Cracker, the Yonder Mountain String Band and Marcy Playground. All over the place, indeed, but that’s the way Williams likes it. And in his hands it all makes sense—like everything he’s ever touched, whether from his own pen or someone else’s, it all becomes Keller Williams’ music.

Those who purchase Keller’s new album, Thief, at Keller’s Official Merch Store by August 31, 2010, will be automatically entered into The “Keller and The Keels On Your Couch” sweepstakes.  The contest offers a chance to win a 90 minute private acoustic performance by Keller and The Keels in the winner’s living room for them and up to 49 of their friends.

Keller is on tour this summer – at solo shows, with The Keels, and even for a run of gigs as vocalist/guitarist in The Rhythm Devils, the project by Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann and his partner percussionist Mickey Hart.

Thief at KW Store: http://kellerwilliams.shop.musictoday.com/Dept.aspx?cp=34597_34942

Thief on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/thief/id365592088


Read Full Post »

by Justin Picard

published: Monday, May 24, 2010

www.musicmarauders.com (You can read the full interview at the link)

As the release of the new album “Thief” by Keller and the Keels approached, I had the pleasure of speaking with guitar slinger Larry Keel. Leading up to it, I was really excited about this interview as I am a big fan of Larry’s music.

J-man: So, Growing up and what led you to mountain music?

Larry: When I was growing up, my father was a banjo player and my brother is a guitar player. We always had friends playing music around us. They came from the mountains of southwest Virginia, so they sort of brought it to the Northern Virginia area with them.

J-man: How do you approach your shows night after night?

Larry: I approach them as, I want to give the crowd the very best of me that I can give them. And that I arrange my sets so that it’s the absolute funnest time that can be had that night.

J-man: Right on. How does it feel when a bluegrass icon like Del McCoury takes and covers one of your songs, also featuring it on one of his albums “The Company We Keep“?

Larry: Oh, it’s totally amazing. It’s like a dream come true. It really is. They are so good at what they do, it’s just nice to hear my idea come to such fruition.

J-man: You’ve had a chance to play with them several times. What’s that like?

Larry: Yeah, we’re really good friends. We’ve been running into each other for many years. I guess twenty years or more. I love playing with him. I think they’re the greatest bluegrass band in the world today.

J-man: I agree… I’m a huge fan.

Larry: (Laughs) Me too.

J-man: (Laughs) When I listened to the new album “Thief” it has an almost sitting around the campfire feel to it…

Larry: Yeah, for the feel; we wanted it to feel real natural. It’s a lot of Keller’s ideas. He has boundless ideas of songs to play. Whether I know them or not, I’ll learn them and we rehearse them and go out and play them. It seems like everybody else knows them (Laughs).


J-man: (Laughs)How did you get involved with Keller Williams and what are your thoughts on what he does musically?

Larry: Oh, man. How did I get involved with Keller? I think it was a while back… I’d say almost twenty years. We were playing a lot of the same clubs, around the Fredericksburg area. I forget what his band was called. I think it was the All Natural Band. We just liked what he did, the band I was in. We hit it off right away, pretty much and just began playing music all over the country together in different places. I’ll tell you; he’s one of the most creative people that I’ve met… He really is.

J-man: I have to say, of all of the Keller projects/bands; the project he does with you guys is by far my favorite.

Larry: Well thank you, thank you. We just really get along great and we hope that translates to the music.

J-man: I think it does.

Larry: Wonderful.

J-man: The Riverboat Record Release Party, sounds like a pretty unique happening. What prompted that event and what are your thoughts on releasing the new album to one hundred diehard fans, on a boat?

Larry: Well it is a totally unique.. I’ll say “show”, for a lack of a better word at that point. It came about because Keller lives on or near the Rappahannock River and he sees that riverboat going up and down. He and his team worked it out with the coast guard and everybody to where we could have a hundred people on there. I feel it’s a really excellent way to release the cd. It’s special, it’s very special.

J-man: … What are you thoughts on Jamgrass music and what it provides or takes away from traditional bluegrass music?

Larry: Jamgrass music, it seems; sort of exploded out of the Colorado area. With Leftover Salmon, and later; Yonder Mountain… I guess you could put String Cheese in that area, but they’re not grassy.

J-man: Right.

Larry: I feel it’s sort of the western take on bluegrass music. Coming from a younger audience and bluegrass music sort of started from all of the Irish music and a lot of swing and blues. It’s a big hodge-podge of music that created bluegrass and it seemed like it was launched and founded in the Blue Ridge Mountains out here. A lot of great players came from southwest Virginia; Ralph Stanley and Don Reno and Kentucky with Bill Monroe of course.

I see Jamgrass as a young persons take on bluegrass. Where bluegrass, was and sort of still is liked by an older generation. It’s good in a way, because that’s continuing on, preserving bluegrass. Jamgrass is helping to preserve bluegrass.

J-man: I agree with that. It’s not very typical to hear folks say that. A lot of bluegrass musicians have come to shun jamgrass music.

Larry: Yeah, I know… and I don’t feel that should be done. If someone is really putting their heart and energy into the music, how can you judge them?

J-man: Right. Speaking of jamgrass, you have a project with Adam Aijala from Yonder. Can you talk about how your project with Adam came about and the full sound that the two of you create?

Larry: I guess it was probably ten years ago, I was doing a big run of shows with Yonder Mountain String Band and I was sort of the supporting act, doing a solo guitar act. At the end of my sets, Adam would come up and play two or three guitar tunes with me, before they came on. So it was a special sort of thing.

We, throughout the years we honed it in to playing some music that we want to play. Adam has such a diverse repertoire. I mean he listens to punk music, and heavy metal… All kinds of different influences. He’ll bring a song to the table that you wouldn’t figure would be a song that would sound good with two guitars. But, by the time we work it out and get our own feel on it, it’s cool stuff and I think, there again; that’s the kind of stuff that turns the heads of a lot of young people towards bluegrass. Because it’s something they know, or like. Like I said, I don’t know a lot of these songs. I had sort of a strict bluegrass raisin’ you know? It’s interesting for me to learn all of this diverse material and it’s a royal blast.

J-man: Additionally, your playing translates well to that sort of style. The full sound being created by the two guitars, immediately draws folks attention.

Larry: Well, thank you. He is an incredible player (Laughs) and every time I pick with him it seems like he’s gone steps and steps beyond what he was the last time; and that was incredible, so…


J-man: Yeah, absolutely. It must be a really special thing, playing and sharing the music you love with your wife, Jenny. Can you talk about what playing music with her means to you?

Larry: Yeah, you know; it really is special. We decided long ago that we wanted to melt our career together to where we could be together all of the time, because that’s what we wanted. We have a happy time… I can say we never fight or any of that, but you know how that goes… That would only be good press (Laughs).

J-man: (Laughs)

Larry: It’s a great time and it’s awesome having someone on the same page.

J-man: The year 2009 hits and I see your music was featured in a documentary film about promoting environmental protection in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. As well, you hosted a “Bass & Grass” fishing technique camp in southern Georgia, also hosting a camp in Ohio at Jorma’s guitar camp. What prompted your directional and conscious shift towards other means of sharing music?

Larry: You know… I’m not the type that just wants to have an extremely laid out perfect course for myself. I like to keep all of my avenues open, just seein’ what’s out there because it’s so enriching when you actually open you eyes and see what’s going on. A lot of the teaching events are so worth while. It is, it’s like giving back in a way, but it gives back to me to be able to see someone getting better at being a musician and finding happiness in that. Or getting out and forgetting about their troubles for a bit and grabbing a fishing pole. Or like you said with the mountaintop removal… that’s just, in my opinion; a heinous crime. If I can let people know about it any way I can, I’ll do so.

J-man: (Laughs) … But what kind of strings are you using, Larry?

Larry: I use D’Addario Strings…


READ THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE: http://www.musicmarauders.com/2010/05/interview-larry-keel.html

www.larrykeel.com

Rex Thomson of MusicMarauders Review of “Thief”.

Read Full Post »

Keller & The Keels are celebrating the release of their new album “Thief”.  Join them in Fredericksburg, VA on Tuesday, May 25th for a scenic, music-filled cruise of the Rappahannock River on the “City of Fredericksburg” riverboat, where the whole boat is backstage!  UPDATE: THIS EVENT HAS SOLD OUT!

They’ll be playing a long set of music as well as meeting and greeting fellow passengers. Cash bar will be available to those over 21 as well as food and non-alcoholic beverages for purchase.

Tickets are $50 each or $90 for a pair and are available through Kellers Fan Club Ticketing **Included with your ticket will be a signed copy of “Thief” and double entry in the the Keller & The Keels On Your Couch Sweepstakes**

This is a super intimate and unique setting with a LIMITED NUMBER OF TICKETS available.

We’ll board at 6 pm, and the boat will depart promptly at 6:30 pm.  IT’S TIME TO PARTY LIKE THIEVES, SO DON’T MISS THE BOAT!

UPDATE: THIS EVENT HAS SOLD OUT!

Also visit Relix.com for the World Premiere video of the Patterson Hood composition “Uncle Disney,” performed by Keller Williams, Larry Keel and Jenny Keel from Thief.

Read Full Post »

Keller Williams Covers Dead: Winehouse, YMSB on New Album

Jambase.com

Keller Williams releases his first-ever all-covers collection, amusingly titled Thief, on May 25, 2010. Recorded with The Keels — husband and wife duo Larry and Jenny KeelThief includes songs originally written and recorded by as wildly diverse an assemblage as anyone’s ever likely to dream up.Keller is on tour this summer – at solo shows, with The Keels, and even for a run of gigs as vocalist/guitarist in The Rhythm Devils, the project by Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann and his partner percussionist Mickey Hart. Keller’s complete list of currently confirmed tour dates is included below.

Thief offers up Keller-versions of songs by an (almost) unthinkable collection of artists: from Amy Winehouse (“Rehab”) to the Grateful Dead (“Mountains of the Moon”), the Butthole Surfers (“Pepper”) to Kris Kristofferson (“Don’t Cuss That Fiddle,” which opens the album, and “The Year 2003 Minus 25,” which closes the album). The set is filled out with tunes by Ryan Adams, the Presidents of the United States of America, The Raconteurs, Patterson Hood, Danny Barnes, Cracker, Yonder Mountain String Band and Marcy Playground. All over the place, indeed, but that’s the way Williams likes it. And in his hands it all makes sense — like everything he’s ever touched, whether from his own pen or someone else’s, it all becomes Keller Williams’ music.

READ MORE: http://www.jambase.com/Articles/22330/Keller-Williams-Covers-Dead–Winehouse-YMSB-on-New-Album

Photo by Melissa Colombo

Read Full Post »

I am super excited about the upcoming Smilefest Reunion in Pinnacle, NC. Not only is one of my all-time favorite festivals getting ressurected this spring, my favorite bands are playing, and all my friends will be there; but it is also my birthday weekend!

Come on out and help me celebrate!!!


Here is a message from the Smilefest Staff:

“We are extremely excited to be announce the return of one of our favorite NC festivals, Smilefest 2010! After taking a 3 year hiatus, one of the best  festivals in the southeast is back…with a twist. Smilefest is a PRIVATE, INVITATION ONLY event this year. ALL TICKETS MUST BE PURCHASED IN ADVANCE!

Because you are friends with Erin and Dreamspider Publicity, we would like to extend a special invitation to you to join us at Smilefest 2010. Come and help celebrate Erin’s birthday weekend. If you purchase your tickets before 4/23/10 you will be entered to win a special VIP package which will include a meet and greet, autograph session with Michael Franti.

When: May 21-23, 2010

Where: Jomeokee Campground in Pinnacle NC

Event Website: www.smilefest.com

How to get tickets: Go to the website and click on ticket link. Password to purchase ticket is “vassar”. OR send an email to smileagain4@gmail.com and request an invitation to Smilefest. Be sure to mention that you were invited by us.

Confirmed Artists: Michael Franti and Spearhead, Keller Williams and The Keels,  Acoustic Syndicate, Pimps of Joytime, Cornmeal, MaGraw Gap, Josh Phillips Folk Festival, Shane Pruitt and many more. Check the website for a list of all artists.

Hope to see you all at Smilefest in May!

A great video from the vault: Acoustic Syndicate from Smilefest 2004:

Read Full Post »