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Album Review

Keller is Keller Williams, the jam-band, progressive bluegrass musician known for his ten-string guitar (but here playing a small-size 12-string with four strings missing); the Keels are singer/guitarist Larry Keel and singer/bassist Jenny Keel. Together, they make up a string trio that finds both bluegrass and silliness in an unexpected set of tunes. Actually, the material and the approach is unexpected only if the listener is not generally familiar with Williams' zany sense of humor, as he begins with an on-the-road song about that touring stimulant, "Goof Balls." Much of the fun, however, is found in the cover material. Somehow, Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" serves as a showcase for lots of bluegrass guitar work, though Williams manages to get in all the familiar lyrics. Tom Petty's oeuvre is addressed in "Mary Jane's Last Breakdown," a combination of "Breakdown" and "Mary Jane's Last Dance." "New Horizons" is borrowed from another progressive bluegrass outfit, the Yonder Mountain String Band. By the time the group gets to "Loser," even though the song list shows the authors as Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter, it figures that Williams begins and ends the rendition with the chorus of Beck's song of the same name. One is tempted to call this a delightful side project for Williams, but his entire career seems like a series of side projects, so let's just say it's another of his reinventions of the bluegrass genre to fit a contemporary sensibility.


Born: Fredericksburg, VA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Keller Williams is literally a one-man jam band. His fascinating live shows feature him solo on-stage with a Gibson Echoplex Digital Pro looping unit, and he creates his backing loops in the moment, building and improvising as he goes on his custom-made ten-string guitar, and thanks to his equally as quirky, upbeat, and semi-surreal songs (which he frequently weaves into extended, half-improvised medleys) and his warm, friendly tenor singing voice, Williams is an...
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Grass, Keller Williams
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