As Yet Untitled

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Cascadia Weekly - Keller Williams

Some people call him K-dub, others Keller McGee, and still others Jam-Man. But you can call him Keller. Keller Williams is a self-taught, percussive, and rhythmic musician, well known on the jam band circuit for playing over live loops of his acoustic folk music. He's used to playing in front of thousands, but he's coming to Bellingham to play for you.

(more after the jump)


At 5:22 AM, Blogger Tyson said...

"Sometimes people don't understand what I do," says Williams by phone. "I have to explain to people about the show, because they'll come in and there will be music playing and no one playing it."

A one man jam band, Williams plays mainly on acoustic guitars while looping other instruments with a Gibson Echoplex Delay system. By building the tracks one by one, he creates wholly unconventional and introspective folk songs with tinges of bluegrass, folk, and electronica.

"I wouldn't say it's a main influence, I'd say it's a recent influence," Keller says of electronica. "It's at the forefront. In the obvious ways, if you listen to my live show, you'd hear some of the lounge beats, the type of stylistic methods I've been using. This whole electronic generation has been coming out for the past decade, and I've completely latched on. The audience can expect a show that has a bit of a happy dance vibe to it, I think that's pretty safe.""

Williams loops and combines newgrass/bluegrass, alternative, reggae, electronica/dance, djembe, drums, jazz, funk, mouth percussion, mouthflugel, bass guitar and other assorted instruments and genres to create his own style of folk music.

Although he sometimes performs with a backing band, be it the String Cheese Incident or the Yonder Mountain String Band, Williams prefers going it alone.

"I'm pretty much doing the solo thing. We keep it fresh and easy," says Williams with an early morning drawl. "Getting together with bands is cool, and I definitely love it, but I'm most comfortable being solo."

So says the man who has appeared on stage with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Umphrey's McGee, New Monsoon, and Australian native Xavier Rudd, among many others.

Not only a fine songsmith in his own right, Williams is also well known for his covers of others' music. From Bob Dylan to Guns N' Roses, Led Zeppelin to Ani DiFranco, Keller is a veritable jukebox of popular music, filtered through his own folkish bent.

"Lately, I've been covering John Lennon, and messing around with Todd Snider, Mike Doughty, and Steven Lynch," says Williams. "Some people don't get it, but I'm a music lover first, musician second."

A fact that will be perfectly clear at Williams' upcoming live show.

"People are going to hear something that they recognize, and something they've never heard before," says Williams. "They can probably expect several hundred young and hungry, hairy college-age type of kids bumping into each other, hopefully smiling."


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