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Posts Tagged ‘Sex and Candy’

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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Keller and the Keels “THIEF” has been getting lot of great attention this year! There are a couple of popular voting contests running now with it on the list: check out WNCW’s top 100 list here & Leeways Homegrown Music Network voting here. THIEF will make a great stocking stuffer too (Please just do not steal it, or it will turn into a lump of coal overnight…)!

Here is a fun review of Thief in the WV Rock Scene Blog and below is one from Bluegrass Unlimited. Click here for the full post.

If  Keller Williams is reading this, we just want to come out and admit that we didn’t pay for Thief. But we didn’t illegally download it or anything like that. Judging from Williams’ liner notes, we don’t want to get off on the wrong foot. [When you buy a copy of the CD; you will see the “Karma Warning”… I’m not going to spoil it for ya though 😉 ]*

But let’s set up exactly how much we wanted to hear the CD first.

A few phrases we’ve coined here include: “The best things come to those who wait,” and “Better late than never.” Both describe our feelings on landing a copy of this 13-song cover CD.

Getting hooked up with the second installment of Keller Williams’ collaboration with Larry and Jenny Keel seems like some sort of cosmic convergence of the most awesome kind.

And in case you didn’t know yet, Keel, the critically acclaimed, much loved flatpicking master, shreds. It would be great to hear him play some metal. Jenny rocks the upright bass and, together, Williams (a star in his own right) and the Keels take songs — maybe not even their favorites, exactly — and, kind of like The Ramones did with songs from rock and roll’s past, put their own unique countrified bluegrass stamp on them.

Remember when you first heard about a bluegrass cover CD of AC/DC songs, and your mind kind of reeled? Hearing Williams and the Keels cover Butthole Surfers, Cracker, Presidents of the United States of America, The Raconteurs, and yes, Amy Winehouse, might seem like a stretch, but they nail it.

They even cover “Sex and Candy” by Marcy Playground. Remember that friggin song? This might make getting that Marcy Playground tattoo seem like a good idea, which, maybe not so much.

More obvious songs for the trio to steal may include “Cold Roses” by Ryan Adams, “Wind’s on Fire” by Yonder Mountain String Band, and“Mountains of the Moon” by the Grateful Dead. Bookended by a pair of Kris Kristofferson songs — he stands to make the most money offThief royalties, as Williams points out in the liner notes — this is a great CD to play on a sunny day aimless drive around town, doing chores, or anything else you wanna do.

The most awesome song for us to hear was “Pepper” by Butthole Surfers. Like over a decade ago, we wore out that Electriclarrylandcassette we had. Williams even does a good Gibby Haynes voice.

But the title of the CD is a slight dig on the whole stealing other people’s songs to make a record, and the tendency of you people to download music for free, and not supporting the artists.

Even though we were late getting this, we are so glad to have got hooked up with it. Apparently there was a Keller and the Keels Play Your Couch type contest. Hopefully that person cleaned off their couch.

But for us, we’re gonna go burn a Grass/Thief compilation CD. And of course, we won’t let anyone steal it off of us.

READ THE FULL POST HERE: http://wvrockscene.blogspot.com/2010/11/cd-review-thief.html *Dreamspider’s addition

Bluegrass Unlimited just released a review today. Click the link for the full review, here is an excerpt:

When I first received Thief, the second set of cover songs recorded by Keller Williams and Larry and Jenny Keel, I fully expected my review to end up in the “On The Edge” section of this magazine. Williams’ music floats on the quirky yet inventive side of the jam band scene, and The Keels have always had an open mind about their Virginia ’grass. … Thief, on the other hand, flows wonderfully throughout with great arrangements and expanded musicality.

The unusual cover-song choices here will seem odd at first glance. But, the positive approach and upbeat grooves makes this CD fit in the “regular” review category just fine. Williams handles most of the lead vocals, while all three keep their acoustic instruments humming throughout. Larry Keel’s leads are excellent, especially in the case of rollicking and infectious versions of Patterson Hood’s “Uncle Disney” and Ryan Adams’ “Cold Roses.” Both Keels sing harmony and Jenny’s bass playing is as solid as ever. Other covers include “Switch And The Spur” by The Raconteurs, “Get It While You Can” by Danny Barnes, Cracker’s “Teen Angst,” “Bath Of Fire” by Presidents Of The United States Of America, the Grateful Dead’s “Mountains Of The Moon,” and Yonder Mountain String Band’s “Wind’s On Fire.” Even when the trio takes on the Amy Winehouse song “Rehab,” it isn’t done in a gimmicky way, but instead rocks right along.

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