Tag Archives: Keller Williams

2012 Fall: Keller prepares to hit 30+ cities across 20+ states & preps for end of the world


Keller Williams today unveils an upcoming season jam-packed with shows – performing both solo and with his myriad of collaborations – and several dates loaded with very special guests. In late December, Keller & Friends host an “End of the World Party” in Keystone, CO on the 21st and – yes – the 22nd of December. For New Year’s Eve, Keller joins with Del McCoury and the The Travelin’ McCourys in their hometown of Nashville, TN for an end of year bash.

Earlier in the season, Keller is all over the Eastern half of the country, hitting more than 30 cities in over 20 states. The complete list of Keller’s confirmed dates is included below.

With the Mayan calendar coming to an ominous halt on December 21, 2012 – many are preparing for the End of Days. Keller Williams & Friends plan to celebrate with an “End of the World Party” in Keystone, CO on December 21 and December 22 (fret not, Keller is promising full refunds for the second show should the world in fact end). Longtime musical friends – The String Cheese Incident’s Keith Moseley,Bill Nershi, and Kyle Hollingsworth and The Motet’s Dave Watts, amongst others – will join Keller for the special occasion. Tickets and details available at www.kellerwilliams.net.

Following the “End of the World Party” (here’s hoping the Mayans simply ran out of room!), Keller hosts a massive 5-night run to ring in the New Year. Performing a solo set and a second set with his brand new R&B collaboration dubbed Keller Williams with More than a Little, and joined by That 1 Guy to open each show, the run makes four stops along the mid-Atlantic coast – Wilmington, NC; Charlotte, NC; Norfolk, VA; and Richmond, VA. The year culminates with a New Year’s Eve extravaganza in Nashville, TN with Keller solo, Del McCoury Band, and Keller Williams with The Travelin’ McCourys.

Fans still have time to enter Keller’s Pick Me! contest. Those who order Pick, the debut collaboration of Keller Williams with The Travelin’ McCourys, by October 1 through Keller’s online merch store automatically get an entry to the contest. One lucky winner will win VIP tickets and an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Nashville to hang with Keller and the McCoury clan at their 2012 New Year’s Eve event. Details are available at www.kellerwilliams.net.

The critically lauded album Pick from Keller Williams with The Travelin’ McCourys was released in July 2012. Pick is a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts—although the parts are rather massive on their own, to be sure. Recorded at Nashville’s famed Butcher Shoppe studios, the album’s dozen songs (both originals and covers) fully realize Americana music’s long storytelling tradition, and the impeccable musicianship displayed on Pick captures all of the heart and heartache of the bluegrass genre—and then some: Williams’ unconventional songwriting takes on even greater weight when backed by The Travelin’ McCourys’ emotive tones. Inspired by Keller’s fearless creativity, The Travelin’ McCourys’ flawless playing gains new depth.


Keller Williams on tour:


Thursday, September 6 Campus Corner Norman OK

Saturday, September 8 Shoe Fest Manteno IL Keller and The Keels


Friday, September 14    Jomeokee Arts and Music Festival Pinnacle NC

                                        Keller Williams with The Travelin’ McCourys

Also performing: Del McCoury Band, Stephen Marley, Yonder Mountain String Band, Jimmy Herring Band, Lettuce, The Everyone Orchestra feat. Michael Kang (SCI), Al Schnier & Vinnie Amico (moe.), Jimmy Herring, Jeff Sipe, Jennifer Hartswick, George Porter Jr., and more! (2x), Emmitt Nershi Band, Midnite, Floodwood, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge and many more including an All-Star Bluegrass Jam led by Del McCoury…  MORE INFO HERE.


Saturday, September 15 Gypsy Pow Wow Music and Arts Festival Lubbock TX

Thursday, September 20 World Cafe Live at The Queen Wilmington DE

Friday, September 21 Upstate Concert Hall Clifton NY

Saturday, September 22 Papermill Island Baldwinsville NY with Donna the Buffalo

Thursday, September 27 The Chameleon Lancaster PA

Friday, September 28 Sherman Theater Stroudsburg PA

Friday, October 5 The Festy Experience at Devil’s Backbone Roseland VA Keller & The Keels

Saturday, October 6 Three Sisters Festival Chattanooga TN Keller & The Keels

Thursday, October 11 The Cabooze Minneapolis MN

Friday, October 12 Majestic Live Madison WI

Saturday, October 13 Park West Chicago IL

Thursday, October 18 20th Century Theatre Cincinnati OH

Friday, October 19 Blind Pig Ann Arbor MI

Saturday, October 20 Headliner’s Music Hall Louisville KY

Thursday, October 25 Bluebird Nightclub Bloomington IN

Friday, October 26 The Intersection Grand Rapids MI

Saturday, October 27 Beachland Ballroom Cleveland OH

Sunday, October 28 Hangtown Halloween Ball Placerville CA Keller Williams with The Travelin’ McCourys

Thursday, November 1 Sam’s Burger Joint San Antonio TX

Friday, November 2 Granada Theater Dallas TX

Saturday, November 3 Antone’s Austin TX

Thursday, November 8 Varsity Theatre Baton Rouge LA

Saturday, November 10 Variety Playhouse Atlanta GA

Thursday, November 15 The Social Orlando FL

Friday, November 16 State Theatre St. Petersburg FL

Saturday, November 17 Revolution Hall Fort Lauderdale FL

Friday, November 23 & Saturday, November 24 Green Parrot Key West FL with special guest TBA

Thursday, November 29 George’s Majestic Lounge Fayetteville AR

Friday, November 30 Cain’s Ballroom Tulsa OK

Saturday, December 1 Granada Theatre Lawrence KS

Thursday, December 6 The Handlebar Greenville SC

Friday, December 7 & Saturday, December 8 The Pour House Charleston SC

Friday, December 21 & Saturday, December 22 Warren Station Center for the Arts Keystone CO End of the World Party! w/ very special guests


Keller solo, Keller Williams with More than a Little, and That 1 Guy

Thursday, December 27 Brooklyn Performing Arts Center Wilmington NC w/
Friday, December 28 Neighborhood Theatre Charlotte NC
Saturday, December 29 The NorVa Norfolk VA
Sunday, December 30 The National Richmond VA


Monday, December 31 Marathon Music Works Nashville TN New Year’s Eve extravaganza with sets by Del McCoury Band, Keller Williams (solo), and

Keller Williams with The Travelin’ McCourys

Friday, March 1 – Tuesday, March 5 Dark Star’s Jamaican Jam in the Sand Negril JAMAICA


Additional dates to be confirmed.






[FESTIVAL REVIEW|PHOTOS] Summer Camp: Tried, True & Twelve 
[CONCERT REVIEWS|PHOTOS] Leftover & Keller mingle on a new level in Memphis
[INTERERVIEWS|VIDEO] Rex-A-Vision has a few words with The Travelin’ McCourys (Video)
[NEWS] Jam in the Sand: Dark Star Orchestra announce Jamaican destination event with Keller 
[FEATURE|VIDEO] Jam Cruise : Live, Backstage & Unplugged Part 1
[ALBUM REVIEW] Keller Williams : Bass 





Keller Williams, The Travelin’ McCourys team up for ‘Pick,’ summer festivals

Pick, to be released July 3, 2012 on SCI Fidelity Records, is the debut collaboration of Keller Williams and The Travelin’ McCourys. Pre-Orders for the album begin May 18th at www.kellermccoury.com (also www.kellerwilliams.net and www.travelinmccourys.com).

Those who pre-order Pick automatically get 2 entries into the Pick Me! sweepstakes, where one lucky person will win an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Nashville to hang with Keller, Del and The Travelin’ McCourys at their just-announced 2012 New Year’s Eve extravaganza at Marathon Music Works. Pick Me! and New Year’s Eve show details available at www.kellermccoury.com

It’s only after you hear Pick that you come to the inescapable realization that this is a meeting that was predestined. Williams, the über-distinctive singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who’s been described as a “one-man band for the new millennium,” is a tireless musical seeker for whom repetition is never an option. And The Travelin’ McCourys – bluegrass royalty nonpareil with a sharp eye toward innovation – have similarly been dubbed “twenty-first century musical pilgrims and adventurers.”

Pick, is a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts—although the parts are rather massive on their own, to be sure. Recorded at Nashville’s famed Butcher Shoppe studios, the album’s dozen songs (both originals and covers) fully realize Americana music’s long storytelling tradition, and the impeccable musicianship displayed on Pick captures all of the heart and heartache of the bluegrass genre—and then some: Williams’ unconventional songwriting takes on even greater weight when backed by The Travelin’ McCourys’ emotive tones. Inspired by Keller’s fearless creativity, The Travelin’ McCourys’ flawless playing gains new depth.

Keller Williams with The Travelin’ McCourys will perform together at select summer festivals. The list of these very special shows is included below.

“I can hardly believe what a blast this collaboration has been so far,” says Williams. “To be in the presence of The Travelin’ McCourys is to be in the presence of greatness. Sometimes you’ll catch us trying not to smile when we play, just to make sure that at least some of the time the music takes precedence over the joy of playing it!”

With decades on the bluegrass circuit under their belt, The Travelin’ McCourys— Rob McCoury on banjo, Ronnie McCoury on mandolin, Jason Carter on fiddle and Alan Bartram on bass—approach their craft with simultaneous reverence for the bluegrass tradition (Ronnie and Rob are the sons of bluegrass icon Del McCoury) and an insatiable desire to move the music forward. Their tight rhythmic sense, jaw-dropping chops and soulful material, performed with an unshakable confidence, takes bluegrass from the safe confines of its predetermined shore into uncharted waters. They’ve played with the Allman Brothers Band, Phish, Warren Haynes and the Lee Boys—not exactly bluegrassers—and are constantly looking for new ways to redefine themselves.

“We like to play traditional bluegrass music the way we do it with Dad, but we also like to be able to step into situations where we can really stretch out,” Ronnie told JamBase. “If we need to plug in, we’ll plug in. We’re open to anything.”

That they were open to teaming with Keller Williams is no surprise. Over the course of his two-decade career, Williams has ceaselessly followed his singular muse, both in a live setting—where he might accompany himself on any number of instruments and electronics—and in the studio, where he’s recorded everything from reggae to rock to experimental music to children’s songs to, of course, bluegrass. Thief, Keller’s 2010 recording with the Keels, reached number #1 on Billboard’s bluegrass chart while last year’s Bass found him utilizing only that instrument throughout the album. Predictability? Not in his vocabulary.

On Pick, Keller Williams—armed this time only with acoustic guitar and a microphone—and The Travelin’ McCourys shine on a dozen tracks that perfectly demonstrate their collective reach, including several new Williams and band-written originals and a handful of surprise but choice covers, including My Morning Jacket’s “Amazed,” Steve Earle’s “The Graveyard Shift” and singer-songwriter Jessie J’s “Price Tag.” The album’s finale, Williams’ “Bumper Sticker,” benefits from a special guest appearance by the man himself, the 73-year-old legend Del McCoury. While the familiar elements of both Keller’s and the McCourys’ music are all in place, the sound that emerges from the troupe collectively takes all of the participants into fresh musical places, where tunefulness meets mystery, virtuosity, daring and a blast of a good time.

Pick is about good pickin’, but it’s about something more: what transpires when two seemingly disparate musical entities find that they have something special to say when they join forces. Pick will surely go down as one of the top picks of 2012 by many an awestruck fan and discriminating critic.


Keller Williams and The Travelin’ Mccourys special summer festival stops:
Friday, May 18 — Dominion Riverrock at Brown’s Island Richmond VA
Saturday, May 26 –  DelFest Cumberland MD (with special Keller Solo Set)
Friday, June 1 — Mountain Jam Hunter NY
Saturday, June 2 –  Wakarusa Ozark AR
Thursday, June 28 –  Electric Forest Rothbury MI
Tuesday, July 3 — Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua Washburn WI
Friday, July 6 — Deadwood Mountain Grand Deadwood SD
Friday, August 17 — The River Roots Live Music Festival Davenport, IA
Friday, September 14 –  Jomeokee Arts and Music Festival Pinnacle, NC 


Monday, December 31 — Marathon Music Works Nashville, TN
New Year’s Eve extravaganza with sets by Del McCoury Band,
Keller Williams (solo), and Keller Williams with The Travelin’ McCourys

Leftover & Keller mingle on a new level in Memphis

Leftover Salmon & Keller Williams
Minglewood Hall
Memphis, TN
April 27, 2012



It was a match made in heaven – two zany, bizarre, dance-frenzy-inducing acts on one bill: Leftover Salmon and Keller Williams at Minglewood Hall. There are times when openers are mere filler – acts stuck onto a bill just so the headliner has some extra time to get juiced before they go on stage. Not this time, though.

Keller Williams as opener left an interesting predicament. Some Keller shows take a little while to simmer…the consummate mad scientist, Keller has to get the perfect blend of gadgets, guitar licks and bass lines, and then the magic happens. So, as an opener, that time was cut short.

Ever the professional, though, he made the best of a shorter slot, and did what only Keller does – worked his magic. Despite the abbreviated set, Keller worked in everything that Keller does and is on stage: he looped, he crooned, and he covered. From the customary (and always fun) “Freeker by the Speaker” to a hillbilly take on Ryan Adams’s “To Be Young,” he warmed up the crowd.

It’s not often that the headliner sits in with the opener, but Keller’s not your ordinary table-setter, and when Leftover Salmon’s Drew Emmitt, Vince Herman and Andy Thorn appeared on stage, it wasn’t your ordinary sit-in. With Keller on bass, the band broke into “Born To Be Wild,” segued into a Thorn-led “Sweet Child ‘O Mine,” and finally landed back into “Born To Be Wild.” It was Keller at his best – putting unique spins on songs out of the great American songbook.

Leftover Salmon paved the road for the jam-grass of today. As the band commented from the Minglewood stage, they’ve been at this for 22 years. The band has only toured sporadically since 2004 and with Andy Thorn (who follows Noam Pikelny and Matt Flinner), is on its third banjo player since founding member Mark Vann passed away in 2002. In spite of and regardless of all of this, from the opening “Carnival Time” at Minglewood, it was clear this was no rotting fish. This is one tight band.

As the Salmon fired through their catalogue, the band showed their true team spirit. Every band member save drummer Jose Martinez handled lead vocals on at least one song, from the Drew Emmitt-led “Gold Hill Line” to the always fun Herman-powered “Euphoria,” to bassist Greg Garrison’s time to shine, “Gone For Long.”

But, while the solely Salmon tunes were great, the true highlights of the show happened when the band brought Keller Williams back to the stage.

As bands are apt to do at Minglewood Hall, Keller/Salmon opened their time together with the obvious choice – “Minglewood Blues.” Keller ran his guitar through a Jerry Garcia-toned effects pedal, but the true guitar hero here was Emmitt. As good as he is on mandolin (and fiddle), he’s a great guitar player, and he proved it to Memphis.

The band followed it up with an epic segue, starting with “Pasta On The Mountain” before dipping a toe into “Legalize It,” teasing “Fire On The Mountain,” and sampling a bit of “Hot Corn/Cold Corn.”

Then, the band shifted into a full-blown “The Shape I’m In,” the first nod of the night to the recently-departed Levon Helm. The song garnered clear audience support, and it was a unique take on the song. Leftover and Keller would eventually find their way back to “Pasta,” wrapping up a solid 20 minutes of wonderful music.

Thorn has filled some monster shoes, as Noam Pikelny is an utter beast (Matt Flinner is no slouch either). He drove the bus on the title track from their new album, the instrumental “Aquatic Hitchhiker,” which will surely develop into a fan favorite over time. His frenetic banjo picking was spot on, and it’s easy to see why he was chosen to hold down the banjo spot for the last couple of years.

Keller came back out to close the show with David Grisman’s “The Hobo Song,” which was a solid cover but didn’t really come near the magic the collective conjured up early in the show.

The encore merely iced the cake. Leftover and Keller went back to The Band – things started with an amazing “Up On Cripple Creek” –  touched on the Doobie Brothers with a few bars of “Black Water,” and finally brought the show to a close with “Wake & Bake.”

Leftover Salmon put on one of most masterful performances in Minglewood Hall’s three year existence. From start to finish, they had absolute control over the room. It’s always nice to see a veteran band who still enjoys what they do, and it was clear that Leftover LOVES their jobs.


Setlist: Leftover Salmon


Carnival Time, Steam Powered Airplane, Tu Nas Pas Aller, Gold Hill Mine, Danger Man, Out In the Woods, Euphoria, Sailing Shoes, Stop All Your Worrying, Light Behind the Rain, Minglewood Blues*, Pasta On the Mountain*, Legalize It*, Fire On the Mountain*, Hot Corn/Cold Corn*, Shape I’m In*, Pasta On the Mountain*, Gone For Long, Sing Up To the Moon, Aquatic Hitchhiker, Breaking Through, The Hobo Song, Cripple Creek*, Black Water*, Wake & Bake*

*with Keller Williams


Download an audience recording of this show HERE.


Click the thumbnail(s) to view more photos from the show by Josh Mintz



Exclusive Video: Keller Williams talks Wakarusa ; Ticket Price Increase on Saturday, 2/11/12


With excitement building for Wakarusa 2012, the Super Early Bird priced Full Event Passes are flying out the door!  Get your Full Event Passes for Wakarusa today before the next price increase on February 11th! http://www.wakarusa.com/2012/tickets.asp


Wakarusa VIP is a deal that can’t be beat.  VIP includes:

·         Exclusive up-front viewing

·         Food, drinks, and libations throughout the weekend

·         Private camping in the VIP wooded area

·         Early arrival and world VIP class

·         And much more!


VIP has SOLD OUT the last several years, so get them now while they are still available!


Keller Williams is a man who knows his festivals. Over the years, he has taken part in virtual every one of even the slightest notoriety and some with zero notoriety. So when he gives praises to one in particular, citing the grounds, vibe, location and the like, it is wise to listen up. Well, that is exactly what he does in the video below that is exclusive to Honest Tune.


In order to ensure that you do not miss what will go down at Waka this year (and that you get to catch it as cheaply as possible), you definitely want to jump on tickets prior to 2/11/12. That is this Saturday for those of us who do better with days  than we do dates.


So head on over to Wakarusa’s ticket page and snag yours up now. Keller would want you to.


Should you choose to do so, you will be joining thousand of friends not yet made in the luscious green fields on Mulberry Mountain, witnessing performances from: the Avett Brothers, Primus, Bob Weir, Jackie Greene & Chris Robinson Acoustic Trio, Umphrey’s McGee, Railroad Earth, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, The Del McCoury Band, Keller Williams, Perpetual Groove and many more!


So what are you waiting for? Save some cash and get your early bird tickets now!


Talkin’ Waka with Keller Williams

 For more on Keller Williams, log on to www.KellerWilliams.net



On the Jam Cruise Scene with Keller, Anders, Col. Bruce, PGroove, 7 Walkers, Railroad Earth & John Oates

Over the years, we at Honest Tune have tried repeatedly to depict what happens year after year on the Cloud 9 annual adventure, Jam Cruise. We have shown photos, written lengthy reviews, gotten Grace Potter to tell sordid tales, and Greensky Bluegrass to admit to making a sprint out of a marathon. Yes, there is nothing quite like the boat.

Even with all of these previous attempts, we are back again. This time, with more photos (in addition to the photos that came out a couple of weeks ago) as well as a video with interview snippets from Col. Bruce, Keller Williams, Perpetual Groove’s Adam Perry and Albert Suttle, Papa Mali, Bill Kreutzmann, Railroad Earth & virgin cruiser, John Oates.

Intermingled with scene footage taken while aboard the ship as well a portion of an an exclusive acoustic performance of “Summertime in New Orleans” by Anders Osborne and a beautiful Irish folk violin outro provided by Tim Carbone, if this doesn’t bait you out to the high seas next Jam-uary, nothing will. So… if you were there, relive the experience. If you weren’t, watch and get your booty on the boat in 2013!   



Jam Cruise scene

w/ Keller, Col. Bruce, PGroove,

7 Walkers, Oates, Railroad Earth & Anders Osborne

(Be sure & scroll down for photos from Zach Mahone)


For more on Anders Osborne: http://www.andersosborne.com

For more on Perpetual Groove: http://www.pgrooove.com
For more on the 7 Walkers: http://www.7walkers.com

For more on John Oates: http://www.johnoates.com
For more on Railroad Earth: http://www.railroadearth.com

For more on Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret.: http://www/colbruce.com
For more on Keller Williams: http://www.kellerwilliams.net


Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from Jam Cruise by Zach Mahone




Jam Cruise : Live, Backstage & Unplugged Part 1

As promised, the content that we have brought back from this year’s Jam Cruise will absolutely prove to be our best to date. In fact, there is so much that we are having to stall on publishing it just so that people do not burn out on it. However, with our Live Backstage & Unplugged Series, it is highly unlikely that will happen.

In past segments, we have brought exclusive performances we have had the pleasure of delivering amazing tunes from many, including Sam Bush, Yonder Mountain String Band, Gary Clark, Jr., moe., The Wood Brothers, Emmitt-Nershi, Railroad Earth and many more. The bar has been set high and with this series, it will only continue to rise.

Jam Cruise is simply an event that brings out the best in people and in musicians. There is something about the environment, whether it is the sea breeze blowing in your hair or the outright camaraderie that exists between passengers and artists alike. It is said all the time, but it is true… there simply is nothing quite as amazing as Jam Cruise in the live music world.

In this first segment, we are graced by Keller Williams, Larry Keel and Papa Mali. All three of these amazing talents, one of whom spends the vast majority of his time playing an electric guitar, came to get down.

So sit back, relax and enjoy as Honest Tune is honored to present Jam Cruise: Live, Backstage & Unplugged with Keller, Papa Mali and Larry Keel. Stay tuned for part two with Anders Osborne, Ryan Montbleau, John Oates and Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret.


Keller Williams performing “I Am Elvis”


Keller Williams


As most know, there is nothing quite like a Keller Williams show. In fact, as far as one can tell, there is no one quite like Keller Williams.

Throughout the course of his career, he has given a whole new meaning to the term “one man band.” However, as noted in an Honest Tune interview that came on the heels of his first release with Larry and Jenny Keel, Keller noted that “the intention for [him], even from the beginning, was always to play with humans and actually make music with other people.” He went on to say that “[playing with other musicians] is where camaraderie is built and where communication without language is able to thrive.”

In 2012, that is exactly where Keller will be found (for the most part)… with other musicians. With his 17th album, Bass, now out, Keller will be out in support with backing band, Kdubalicious, and will also be hitting the road with The Travelin’ McCourys and The Keels.


Papa Mali (7 Walkers) performing “King Cotton Blues”


Papa Mali


It seems that Papa Mali has found his permanent home alongside legendary Grateful Dead drummer, Bill Kreutzmann in the 7 Walkers. Within the ensemble that also features multi-instrumentalist Matt Hubbard and New Orleans funk legend, George Porter, Jr. on bass, he has found a place where his years in both the reggae and funk worlds can gracefully collide. Further, with a now lasting friendship with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, his already brilliant song-writing capacity has been taken to new heights.

When in the presence of Mali and Kreutzmann, whether for a moment or for an extended period of time, the mutual admiration — on a personal level — creates a glow on both of the musicians’ faces. This is most evident in a yet to be released Honest Tune interview where Kreutzmann (in short) credits Mali with providing him with a feeling of contentment and completion that he has not felt since Jerry Garcia passed away.

What is best is that this admiration and respect between Mali and Bill shines through with pure beauty when the two are on stage together.


Larry Keel performing “Love”


Larry Keel


Trying to find an artist that is more authentic than Larry Keel would be a fruitless adventure. Larry’s Appalachian mountain sound reeks of the place he calls home. When Larry plays, his audience is immediately taken to the place that he loves the most… at home, stoking a fire, pickin’ and swillin’ moonshine.

Of course, all of this fails to mention that Keel is one of the finest picking guitar players on bluegrass scene today and one whose services are in high demand at any festival fortunate enough to have him on the bill.

As a person, authenticity remains highly in tact. Let’s face it, Larry Keel is just a good dude. But as the story goes, behind every good man is a great woman. And in this case, the sentiment certainly holds true with Keel’s better half, Jenny, who also serves as bassist in Larry’s many ensembles, including Larry Keel & Natural Bridge and Keller & The Keels.

With a new record (Classic, due in April) ready to drop, expect to see Larry and Jenny on the road throughout 2012 as they bring their home to your hometown.



Keller Williams : Bass

Multi-faceted artist Keller Williams releases his 17th album this month, and it stays true to his one-name-album formula, this time with the appropriately titled Bass. Keller takes the reigns as primary vocalist and bass player, and is backed by his touring reggae-funk band Kdubalicious, consisting of Jay Starling on keyboards and Mark D on drums (fellow Virginians who have worked with Keller before as members of the reggae-tinged Transmitters). Williams may be primarily known as a guitar player, but he proves here that he is no slouch on the bass either.

His playful songwriting method and signature vocals are not much different from his previous 16 releases; however this project leans more toward jazz and reggae versus the roots, bluegrass, and jam of most his other albums, and it benefits greatly by having accompanying musicians rather than his usual one-man-band projects.  Although this is not his first foray into leading a band as he has done so before on previous installments such as Keller and the Keels, Keller Williams and the WMDs, The Keller Williams Incident, etc., it still marks a progression for his ever-changing craft.

If any folks have been hesitant about getting into Keller’s music, Bass may just win them over with its accessibility and effortless flow. The airy jazz grooves heard on the excellent “The Sun and The Moon’s Vagenda” – highlighted by Starling’s melodic piano and Mark D’s rhythmic drumming – as well as the upbeat, breezy reggae of “Positive” are smooth and extremely ear-pleasing.

His lyrical wit is strong as usual, displayed on the catchy funk number “Hey Ho Jorge” (I like my funk well-done, never rare … I eat the funk), the pop-reggae tune “Super Hot” where he rants about the “hot chicks in the front row”, as well as the hilarious “I Am Elvis” (I like to snowboard naked in the morning, jump out of a helicopter and freeze my behind).

But aside from all the humorous lyrics and positive vibes, some of the best moments on this album happen when the trio shakes free from the anchor and jam, seemingly swimming together through relaxing chords shown on such songs as the soft reggae tune “High” and the jazz-fusion track “Buena”.

This album may not represent Keller’s strongest work (look to 2007’s Dream for that), but there is a certain wonderful chillness to it all. And you have to appreciate Keller’s choice to continuously try new projects with varying styles and players. His first 10 or so studio recordings were just him and looping machines, which were becoming a bit redundant and tiresome. Over the course of his last five albums he has gone in a different direction each time, which is welcome. He performs better as a band leader than a solo artist, this much is sure, and having the talents of Jay Starling and Mark D along for this ride works brilliantly.

Bass is out now on SCI Fidelity.

Merge, SCI Fidelity offer free music samplers

Need some driving music for your holiday travels? Merge Records and SCI Fidelity are offering free samplers that should get your mind meandering and your body moving.


Merge Winter Sampler

Stream and download the new Merge 2011-2012 free winter sampler now

The Merge Winter Sampler features a collection of songs from late 2011 and a few glimpses of what is to come in 2012.

Hospitality – “Betty Wang”
Richard Buckner – “Traitor”
Lambchop – “Gone Tomorrow”
Crooked Fingers – “Bad Blood”
Superchunk – “Driveway to Driveway”
The Mountain Goats – “Estate Sale Sign”
Eleanor Friedberger – “My Mistakes”
Imperial Teen – “Runaway”
Archers of Loaf – “Harnessed In Slums”
Wild Flag – “Romance”
Stephin Merritt – “Rot in the Sun”
The Rosebuds – “Go Ahead”



SCI Fidelity Sampler

Download it now at  SOUNDCLOUD and at SCI FIDELITY’S WEBSITE

The Sampler features ten live and studio tracks from six SCI Fidelity artists, including The String Cheese Incident, Keller Williams, Lotus, Younger Brother, EOTO and Emmitt-Nershi Band.

1. “Rosie” (Live) – The String Cheese Incident, 07.02.11, Rothbury, MI

2. “Golden Ghost” – Lotus, Lotus

3. “Shine” – Younger Brother, Vaccine

4. “Geliel” (Live) – EOTO – 10.09.11, Northampton, MA

5. “B.I.T.C.H.” – Keller Williams, from the series Whenever I Feel Like It Freek

6. “New Country Blues” (Live) – Emmitt-Nershi Band, Recorded by Texas Roadhouse Live at the Last Concert Café, Houston, Texas 04.16.11

7. “Song In My Head“(Live) – The String Cheese Incident, 07.01.11, Rothbury, M

8. “The Surf” – Lotus, Lotus

9. “Pound A Rhythm” – Younger Brother, Vaccine

10. “Give Me The Love” (Live) – The String Cheese Incident, from the iTunes exclusive release Winter Carnival 2011

Keller Williams (Kids Matinee), 11/19/11

Keller Williams
Brooklyn Bowl
New York City, NY
November 19, 2011


In between touring with The Travelin’ McCourys, promoting his latest studio release, Bass, and popping up here and there as he is known to do, Keller Williams brought his Kids show to New York’s Brooklyn Bowl last weekend. As with previous performances, all was spot on as moms pretended to toot during “Mama Tooted,” a track from Keller’s Kids  release, dads laughed at said pretend flatulent and kids mocked them both while Keller the troubadour continued to play through the tunes that are ageless in terms of enjoyability.

Prior to the show itself, kids were encouraged to participate in a drum. They banged the assortment of percussive instruments while parents shone their pride for their offspring and their ability to not only make clanging noises, but to be cute while so doing.

Vernon Webb was on the scene with his daughter in tow and managed to snap a few shots in between the confetti, balloons and downright fun of the matinee.



Click on the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Vernon Webb

Keller Williams to release ‘Bass’ on December 13

On December 13, 2011, Keller Williams delivers Bass, his 17th album. Starting with 1994’s Freek, Keller has done solo albums, live albums, one with The String Cheese Incident, another with Bob Weir, Michael Franti, Bela Fleck and a bunch of other personal heroes, a bluegrass covers album with Keller & The Keels, a children’s album, a remix album, and more. Here Keller shows off, you guessed it, his bass skills with his first record that finds the multi-instrumentalist only on bass guitar.

Bass is also the first album to be recorded with Keller’s live reggae-funk band Kdubalicious. Formed in late 2010, in addition to Keller on bass and vocals, the group features Jay Starling on keyboards and Mark D on drums. Though Keller’s music, both what he listens to and what he puts out, may always be changing and evolving, there’s always one constant: his unique, playful songwriting. Bass is no different in that regard. This may be reggae music – with heavy doses of dub, funk, jazz and even bits of pop and psychedelia – but at the core, it’s a Keller Williams record, his warm voice and equally inviting attitude driving the positive vibrations.

Since Keller Williams first appeared on the scene in the early ’90s, he has helped define the term independent artist. Looking at the diversity of his fall plans, you can certainly ascertain why. Look for Keller on tour through the end of the year in several of his various incarnations, including his newest collaboration – The Travelin’ McCourys Featuring Keller Williams – which debuted this fall at Magnolia Fest, Voodoo Music Festival, and others. Also recently announced, a New Year’s run: beginning December 28 at The Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh, North Carolina. Then on December 29 and 30 the show rolls to The National in Richmond, VA and Norfolk’s NorVa respectively, with Keller Williams on stage for one set solo and one set with his project Kdubalicious, plus very special guests The Pimps of Joytime. For New Year’s Eve, Keller & The Keels ring in 2012 at Brooklyn Performing Arts Center in Wilmington North Carolina. All four venues will also host a Keller Plays for Kids matinee performance earlier that day. Visit kellerwilliams.net for information and tickets.

The current list of confirmed dates is as follows:
Friday, November 18 Stone Pony Asbury Park NJ
Saturday, November 19 Brooklyn Bowl Brooklyn NY KIDS show
Wednesday, November 30 – Thursday, December 1 The Abbey Theatre Durango CO
Friday, December 2 El Rey Theatre Albuquerque NM
Saturday, December 3 Orpheum Theater Flagstaff AZ
Sunday, December 4 Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas NV
Thursday, December 8 Infinity Hall Norfolk CT
Friday, December 9 Pearl Street Northampton MA
Saturday, December 10 Historic Blairstown Theatre Blairstown NJ
Sunday, December 11 Sellersville Theater Sellersville PA
Wednesday, December 28 Lincoln Theatre Raleigh NC KIDS Show
Wednesday, December 28 Lincoln Theatre Raleigh NC
Thursday, December 29 The National Richmond VA KIDS show
Thursday, December 29 The National Richmond VA with The Pimps of Joytime
Friday, December 30 The Norva Norfolk VA KIDS show
Friday, December 30 The Norva Norfolk VA with The Pimps of Joytime
Saturday, December 31 Brooklyn Performing Arts Center Wilmington NC KIDS show
Saturday, December 31 Brooklyn Performing Arts Center Wilmington NC Keller and the Keels
Monday, January 9 – Saturday, January 14 Jam Cruise 10 Fort Lauderdale FL Keller and The Keels
Friday, January 13 The Abbey Bar at ABC Harrisburg PA
Saturday, January 14 Mr. Smalls Theatre Millvale PA
Tuesday, January 17 New York Guitar Festival New York NY
Thursday, January 19 Harlow’s Sacramento CA
Friday, January 20 Arcata Theatre Arcata CA
Saturday, January 21 Great American Music Hall San Francisco CA Keller Williams Plays for KIDS Matinee
Saturday, January 21 Great American Music Hall San Francisco CA
Sunday, January 22 Mystic Theatre Petaluma CA
Thursday, February 2 Coach House San Juan Capistrano CA
Friday, February 3 Belly Up Tavern Solana Beach CA
Saturday, February 4 Club Nokia @ LA Live Los Angeles CA
Friday, February 17 Ziggy’s Winston Salem NC
Wednesday, March 14 – Saturday, March 17 Jam in the ‘Dam, The Melkweg Amsterdam NE

Look for Keller Williams’ complete list of fall tour dates at kellerwilliams.net.