Keller Williams: Dream

Many things come to mind when people hear the name Keller Williams.  Maybe its the loops he creates nightly, a frenzy on stage.  Perhaps it’s his one-man-band persona.  It could be his oft-quirky lyrics and playful demeanor.


What you probably don’t think of is a man fronting a band.  


With the release of Dream, all of your preconceived notions will be shattered.


From the opening, punk rock-esque notes of "Play This," complete with the background pleas to "speed it up and throw some fuzz on it," it’s evident that this is a different Keller Williams than on recent releases.


On Dream, Keller brings along his heroes and friends to create possibly the first truly great album of 2007.  He breaks out older tunes in his repertoire, like the Modereko-enhanced "Celebrate Your Youth" and gives turns "Ninja of Love" into a reggae-tinged, dance-hall fit gem with the help of Michael Franti.


Over the course of the album, Keller shows amazing musical dexterity.  On "Twinkle," he picks up a bass to accompany Steve Kimock (guitar) and John Molo (drums) and does so with much success.  "Sing For My Dinner" finds Keller on banjo, backed by his old pals, the String Cheese Incident.


As the aforementioned "Celebrate Your Youth" ends, some studio trickery seamlessly segues it into the acoustic "Cadillac," where Keller is accompanied by Bob Weir and Bob’s dog.


However, on a CD filled with great music, the greatest track is probably "People Watchin’."  It’s an extremely catchy tune, one worth listening to over and over.  It helps that Keller’s guitar is backed by Bela Fleck’s banjo, Victor Wooten’s bass, and the drumming of Jeff Sipe.  The four of them put together a phenomenal track.  Near the three-minute mark, Bela breaks into a solo as the rest of the guys play along behind him, Sipe’s cymbal beats providing the perfect beat, and the song builds for thirty seconds before the vocals reappear and bring the song home.


There have already been several strong releases in 2007 despite the fact that we’re only a month in.  However, Dream really is the perfect title to this disc; Keller brought his dream team into the studio and cranked out one seriously strong disc.