JamGrass.net Recommends: Keller Williams

Keller & The Keels, 2013 3 Sisters Bluegrass Festival, Chattanooga, TN

As I was trying to think about a way to connect bluegrass and my upcoming trip to Disney World, the Keller & the Keels cover of Patterson Hood’s “Uncle Disney” popped into my mind. Ever a source of inspiration – we’ve already covered Mr. Williams contributions to bluegrass through his efforts with Grateful Grass and ode to new grass, “Bumper Sticker” – JamGrass.net recommends Keller Williams efforts with the Keels and The Travelin’ McCourys.

Keller first recorded with fellow Virginians Larry and Jenny Keel on the 2006 release Grass. A collection of originals and covers, the album successfully blends bluegrass, the Keller Williams acoustic style and his ever present wit into ten phenomenal tracks. Flat-picker extraordinaire Larry Keel brings the bluegrass credibility while Jenny Keel provides the bass. Standout tracks include “Goof Balls”, “Crater in the Backyard”, “Local”, and interpretations of Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, and Grateful Dead classics.

The second offering from Keller & the Keels came in the form of 2010’s Thief, a collection of bluegrass-inspired covers stolen from a wide range of artists. The album opens with Keller and Larry doing their best Waylon & Willie on the Kris Kristofferson penned “Don’t Cuss the Fiddle.” Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab”, “Get it While You Can” by Danny Barnes, and Presidents of the United States of America’s “Bath of Fire” are all highlights on an album with thirteen must-listen tracks.

Fast forward to 2012 and Keller Williams is picking with the princes of bluegrass, The Travelin’ McCourys. Born of bluegrass royalty Del McCoury, the Travelin’ McCoury’s have become a force in the bluegrass scene and favorite of “jamgrass” circles. Songs penned by Williams, McCouyrs’ members, and covers create an album that’s easy to listen to straight through. Everything here is great, but personally the album really hits its stride from “Broken Convertible” through “Bumper Sticker.”

Add in Rex featuring Yonder’s Jeff Austin & String Cheese Incident’s Keith Mosely and “People Watchin'” recorded with Béla Fleck & Leftover Salmon alum Jeff Sipe, Keller Williams has performed with jamgrass royalty. I’m looking forward to whatever comes next, hopefully an official relase of the second performance of Grateful Grass.

Check out the Spotify playlist below (note that Rex is unavailable on Spotify) for previews and be sure to shop for tracks by Keller and his bluegrass friends using the list I built at Amazon.com. Remember, 100% of JamGrass.net’s proceeds for the remainder of 2013 will be donated to the Tony Rice Foundation. Buy these tracks or anything you want through the link and help out one of bluegrass music’s true greats!

And don’t forget to vote for the fantasy JamGrassers band!

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