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LKNB Photo by Vikas Nambiar

Larry Keel and Natural Bridge have a fun weekend in store with shows in Atlanta, Savannah and Greenville, SC! They start off on Thursday, March 3rd in Atlanta at the Red Light Cafe. Friday’s show is at the Live Wire Music Hall in Savannah, GA and they head n over to Greenville, SC for a show at Gottrocks on Saturday, March 5th!

Jenny Keel will be doing a LIVE radio interview TONIGHT (Wed, March 2nd) on Radio Free Georgia WRFG 89.3 FM at 8:45pm EST. Listen in online at www.wrfg.org

The Savannah Current writes,

Keel is one of the pre-eminent flat-picking acoustic guitarists in the entire world. Anywhere. He holds his own with the likes of (his good buddy) Tony Rice. And it’s not basic bluegrass, the way Bill Monroe played it – Keel and the band (which includes his wife Jenny on standup bass) also play a jaw-dropping amalgam of gypsy folk and Appalachian instrumental music. This is acoustic music, pure and performed with intensity and flying-finger verisimilitude.

One more thing: The Virginia-bred Keel devotes half of his official website to fishing news and tips (that’s his other passion). He ain’t a sweet-singing vocalist like Ricky Skaggs or Vince Gill – he’s got a gravelly, weathered voice that lets you know, right from the get-go, that between that and the fishing, the flatpicking and the mountain-man beard, he’s the real deal.

~ written by Bill DeYoung

The Hartford Examiner states, “Flatpicking Guitar master Larry Keel is a dedicated force in preserving and creating American Mountain Music. Delivering powerful and honest performances, Keel and his four-piece bluegrass band Natural Bridge are a breath of fresh air in the traditional bluegrass market of today.”

Also check out the writeups in Connect Savannah and GoUpstate.com!

Jenny Keel did a wonderful interview with Sarah Morgan, the Atlanta Jamband Examiner. Here are some excerpts:

Pickin’ and grinnin’ doesn’t get more descriptive than with Larry Keel & Natural Bridge. Larry Keel may be a guitar master but his “backup” band isn’t subpar. The Natural Bridge includes Mark Schimick tearing up the mandolin, Will Lee going to town on a 5 string banjo, and Jenny Keel beating down the bass. The bluegrass maestros are playing this Thursday night at Red Light Café. A trip to Atlanta is a trip home for Jenny Keel.

Growing up in Atlanta, Keel says she listened to more classic rock, southern rock and jazz than bluegrass. It wouldn’t be until she moved to Virginia to attend college that she was fully exposed to the genre.

“When I got up here, with the snap of your fingers you could sit in or check out any old time jam, Keel says.”You could take walks and there’s always something going on. That’s how I met Larry. I went to see one of my buddies picking. Low and behold there’s Larry on stage with him, and I was “who are you – in my town? Why don’t I know you?” Yeah I stalked him right from there.”

. . .   . . .    . . .

Larry and Jenny Keel. Photo by Bright Life Photography.

While Keel says being able to play together helps with the grind of the road, she had to learn how to play first.

“It solves the problem of homesickness and yearning to be back home with the family unit,” Keel says. “We’re our own family unit, together 24/7, and we wanted it that way from the beginning, when we met and fell in love.

. . .   . . .    . . .

Larry put her to the test during her lessons.

“He said ‘OK, you’ve been messing around with the bass and everything, it’s time to jump into the fire.’ And that’s what happened. We knew we wanted to be together, that was absolutely the goal however it was going to happen. And turns out, I was able to play in the band with him.”

Those quickly learned bass skills can be easily distinguished on their 2009 album Backwoods. Keel says she would like to learn the banjo and guitar more, but like most people she has to battle time.

“I’m so busy with the touring, and when we do come home it’s just a big circus juggling act of management, business, paperwork, report, not to mention household stuff,” she explains. “I have a home, a cat, have to do laundry, have to get vehicles ready to get back on the road…the old cliché, if I just had more time in the day. Sounds so Western Civilization. The Chinese, that’s not part of their culture, they think they have all the time in the world – and their right. I’m not stressed by it, but yeah, it seems to leave me short for things I want to do.”

One thing that there is always time for is music. Keel says performing is a chance to connect to other people.

“The goal every time is to connect, share the music and be a team…to create the best music possible, the best vibe, and have a great time,” she says. “Be it 2000 strangers in an auditorium or music hall, our goal is to get everyone on the same page through the music, and be comfortable, and fired up… or just transported.  Whatever the emotion of the song calls for, if it’s scary or just wide open, joyous…anywhere, anytime that’s what we’re going for. “

. . .    . . .    . . .

Are you going? Tell me Sarah on Twitter @djsarahspin. Keep up to date on all the latest jam band happenings in Atlanta by hitting the “subscribe” button.

READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE on Examiner.com: Larry Keel & Natural Bridge At Red Light Cafe – Atlanta jam bands | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/jam-bands-in-atlanta/larry-keel-natural-bridge-at-red-light-cafe#ixzz1FSuY0Mgx

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Photo Credit: Tim Reese

Keller Williams & The Keels perform “Uncle Disney” in a behind-the-scenes video from the taping on Etown Nonprofit with Marc Broussard int he video posted below!

eTown welcomes back veteran performer and musician Keller Williams for his third visit to the show. He brings with him The Keels (husband/wife duo Larry and Jenny Keel) who promise to add a bluegrass twist to Keller’s customary ‘one man eclectic band’ sound. Nick & Helen Forster are also happy to welcome a Louisiana-bred singer/songwriter and eTown first-timer, Marc Broussard. Marc brings his own signature blend of R&B, soul, and funk.

Catch the entire show on the radio in your area, podcast it or stream it online…http://etown.org/listen.php Larry Keel

Here’s the link to the podcast: http://etown.org/podcast/

The broadcasting all starts with these clips:

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Announcing Larry Keel Winter and Spring Tour dates as of 1/5/2011

Flatpickin Guitar Master Larry Keel has been busy pickin and fishin all around this past year and has a ton or surprises in store for the New Year, so stay tuned!

“Keel has had a heck of a year dropping a new CD, “Thief,” with long-time buddy Keller Williams in the spring, and then touring all over the country at some of the country’s biggest festivals with Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, Keller and the Keels, Keel and Adam Aijala, Jeff Austin and The Keels, Magraw Gap, and other interesting collaborations. ” ~Dave Lavendar

Larry Keel’s dazzling guitar skills and gruff, baritone vocals, wife Jenny’s granite-firm bass guitar work and the support of top-shelf backing players. . . Good folks, amazing roots music. ~ Tad Dickens

Look for more in 2011.  The Keels tour dates as of 1/5/2011 are posted below.

Larry Keel has a fantastic 2010!

Keller & the Keels ~ Thief is #37 WNCW Top 100
Keller & the Keels ~ Thief is #86 ~ Americana Music Association Top 100
Keller & the Keels ~ Thief is #6 ~ Jambands Online Top 10

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“Keller and the Keels proved that teaming the creativity of Keller Williams and the musical prowess of Larry and Jenny Keel makes for some fine magic in ‘Thief,‘ an album that covers everyone from the Grateful Dead to the Butthole Surfers.” Best in Music 2010: The Corner News: Rock/Jam/Bluegrass By Wildman Steve
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Listed #4 live music event in Boone NC!
Larry Keel & Adam Aijala ~ “When flatpicking virtuoso Larry Keel teamed with Yonder Mountain String Band guitarist Adam Aijala, there was no doubt that strings would fly. The duo performed early 2010 at Boone Saloon, seeming to defy the laws of physics with their high-energy, expert picking (accompanied by plenty of grinning). Meanwhile, Keel’s wife and bassist, Jenny, mingled with the crowd, making good on the Keels’ grounded and friendly reputation.”
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Larry Keel Music Tour Dates

Larry Keel and Natural Bridge

Larry Keel – Guitar and Vocals Jenny Keel – Bass and Harmonies Mark Schimick – Mandolin and Vocals

02/03/11 LKNB Pisgah Brewing Company Black Mountain, NC
02/04/11 LKNB Clementine Cafe Harrisonburg, VA
02/05/11 LKNB The Otter House Fredericksburg, VA
02/10/11 LKNB Gerstles Place Louisville, KY
02/12/11 LKNB Spring Street Music Hall Johnson City, TN
02/18/11 LKNB Mountain State Brewing Company Thomas, WV
02/19/11 LKNB Dantes Bar Frostburg, MD
03/24/11 LKNB SUWANNEE SPRINGFEST Live Oak, FL
03/25/11 LKNB SUWANNEE SPRINGFEST Live Oak, FL
03/26/11 LKNB Pour House Charleston, SC
06/03/11 LKNB John Hartford Memorial Festival Bean Blossom, IN
06/04/11 LKNB SMILE FEST 2011 Pinnacle, NC
06/05/11 LKNB SMILE FEST 2011 Pinnacle, NC
06/11/11 LKNB Bill Monroe Bluegrass Hall Of Fame And Uncle Pen Days Bean Blossom, IN
07/30/11 LKNB FLOYD FEST FLOYD, VA
07/31/11 LKNB FLOYD FEST FLOYD, VA

Keller and the Keels

Keller Williams – Guitar and vocals Larry Keel – Guitar and vocals Jenny Keel – Bass and Harmonies

01/13/11 Keller & the Keels VILAR CENTER FOR THE ARTS BEAVER CREEK, CO
01/14/11 Keller & the Keels SHERATON BALLROOM STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO
01/15/11 Keller & the Keels AGGIE THEATRE Fort Collins, CO
01/16/11 Keller & the Keels Boulder Theater BOULDER, CO

Larry Keel – Guitar and Vocals

01/21/11 Steep Canyon Rangers w/ Larry Keel The Orange Peel Asheville, NC

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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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WNCW’s Top 100 2010 CDs

#37 Keller and the Keels – Thief


#51 Galen Kipar Project – The Scenic Route


#56 Dehlia Low – Live


 

WNCW’s Top 20 Regional CDs of 2010

#4 Dehlia Low – Live

#12 Galen Kipar Project – The Scenic Route

 

For the complete list visit: http://www.wncw.org/Top100_2008.html (says 2008 in the url, but it is 2010 )

 

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Dreamspider Publicity
Dreamspider@gmail.com
www.dreamspider.net
www.twitter.com/dreamspiderweb
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Representing diverse clientele that value uniqueness with a funky edge  ///  Donna the Buffalo, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, Acoustic Syndicate, Mad Tea Party, Galen Kipar Project, Dehlia Low, the Lexington Ave Arts and Fun Festival (LAAFF) and more!

 

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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/

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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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