By Franklin Abbott
Keller Williams describes himself as an “open-minded, alternative, acoustic” musician. He will be performing this Friday, April 7, at Variety Playhouse with Leo Kottke, a musician he holds deep admiration for and describes as “impeccable and fully inspired.” The pair have been crossing America with their “Shut the Folk Up and Listen” tour.
William, a native of Virginia, grew up with “Hee Haw” and acid rock. He taught himself to play the guitar and was performing gigs at 16. He is primarily a solo performer, but has played with Larry Keel and Natural Bridge and The String Cheese Incident. He performs at festivals all around the country, including the Elysian Fields Festival and Bonnaroo. He says one of the highlights of his career was performing with members of The Grateful Dead, who were his idols when he first began listening to music.
His latest albums are “Raw” and “Sync,” both released this year. “Raw” is an acoustic album, while “Sync” is a collaboration with acoustic dance ensemble KWhatro. Williams is known for his collaborations with other musicians but is a one man band himself. He performs with a Boss Loop Station RC-300 phrase looper pedal which allows him to riff off of one instrument and repeat it while he plays another. He plays guitar, piano, theremin, a Korg Kaossilator and a set of Boomwhackers percussion tubes among other instruments.
Williams composes most of his own songs. He works three weeks on and two weeks off while touring and playing festivals. His creative time comes after he winds down from the road. He will often start with a hook and adds a story line. The music comes after the words. His life has gotten busier with two children at home and the muse visits less frequently. Williams currently hosts Keller’s Cellar, which is recorded and streamed at Wally’s Cleaver in Fredericksburg, VA.
Franklin Abbott is an Atlanta psychotherapist and writer.