Out and About: Rollin' on a River with Keller Williams
  • FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 2013

  • Posted by: Owen Reuther

Keller Williams is a goofy, fun loving man-child who loves being on stage more than any artist out there. The guy is his own one-man band. To create his funky bluegrass jams Keller relies mostly on his feet. His musical talent is such that he loops together improvised songs live on stage.

His live process is lengthy and precise, but Keller floats around making it look like a breeze. With a tap of his foot he begins to loop a gnarly beat via drum machine or a beat box rip. Taking a step back - or better yet, dancing a step back - and nodding his head in approval, he then moves to his free-standing bass and starts slapping. After laying down a funky bass line, another tap of his foot begins to loop it right over the drumbeat. Then he suddenly mounts his axe that sits on its own apparatus, and shreds faster and smoother than most guitarists today. Once he seems satisfied, he grooves out to the music, but for only a brief moment, he's not quite done yet. He must then swing the acoustic guitar that's been resting on his back and begins picking it with his signature psychedelic bluegrass style. After jamming out on drums, bass, electric guitar, two or three different acoustic guitars, and occasionally humming into the mic or just improvising nonsensical words, a song will end. Five seconds will pass, and it will all start over again with a completely different sound.

The result is music that is in and of itself a new genre. He blends funk, bluegrass, and improvisational jam music to create his incredibly unique sound. He started out last night aboard the Jewel with a cover of CCR's "Rollin' On A River," which was all too fitting of a pun for the crowd on the sold out concert cruise. He played a few Keller classics like "People Watchin'," and "Breathe," all the while improvising beats, riffs, and bass lines, as well as making up lyrics that applied to each passing moment. He finished the night with "Bob Rules," which transitioned seamlessly into Phish's "Birds of a Feather." Just for reference, "Bob Rules" is an original Keller song that details a dream he once had of winning a red Corvette on The Price is Right. With new details coming to light each time he plays it, last night it arose that after winning the car and being told he could not drive off in it yet, Keller decided to run through the boat in the showcase. Once he reached the top of the deck he met the one and only Captain Ron, who was listening to "Birds of a Feather."

This epitomizes Keller Williams and his live shows. They are goofy and fun, but at the same time they showcase the man's incredible musical prowess and originality. Seeing the one-man band live is a surreal experience. This boy trapped in a man's body seems to be completely elated when he is on the stage. Anyone who truly appreciates prolific musicians should put Keller Williams on the top of their must see list.









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