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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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