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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

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