A loopy kind of musician
By DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writer
Musician Keller Williams brings a
kind of wacky invention to his shows. Though heís a solo artist, with
his unique looping abilities, his music is more wall of sound than
coffee shop acoustic.
A Virginia native, Williams
performs 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum.
Tickets are available by calling the theaterís ticket line at 726-4tks.
Williamsí live shows revolve around solo acoustic guitar and vocals, he
said. "Itís kind of alternative dancey folk music but not in the
traditional sense. Kind of my own thing, really."
Guitarist Keller Williams
performs in Ketchum Wednesday night. Courtesy photo
He explained: "I do live phrase
sampling. Nothing is prerecorded. Instead, itís recorded on stage and
played back, so I have a loop going and I can layer on top of that like
a bass or drum line to get this whole band sound up there."
Another way of putting it is that
his shows are a cross between folk and DJ-ing.
"The technology has changed, but
itís not a new idea," he said from California, where heís on tour before
heading to Idaho. "Now itís all digital. I got it from bass player
Victor Wooten, whoís a member of Bella Fleck and Fleck Tones. I opened
for him a couple times in 1998. I had the wrong tools, so he showed me
what kind of tools to use."
So on stage, heís literally
playing a guitar, harmonica, drum, vibraphone and other sound-making
items. He plays lots of original music, but has his favorite covers as
"Iím a musician first. Thereís a
lot of original material on my albums, but I get bored playing my own
stuff. I play Bob Marley, Grateful Dead, Coldplay, whatever strikes my
fancy at the time. Thereís no set list."
Other musical inspiration comes by
way of Michael Hedges, with a dash of Jimi Hendrix and Ani DiFranco
But Williams doesn't just make use
of the whiz-kid technology to create. Heís equally adept at putting over
a song in his warm, friendly tenor on one of his 10-string guitars.
Over the course of eight
albumsóhis latest "Home" is on String Cheese Incidentís labelóand
boundless touring, Williams has built a following. While talking on the
phone he was interrupted by a fan who had made a CD of her own for him
to listen to. Maybe sheís a tour follower. Williams is unfailingly
polite and encouraging. A nice guy, in fact.
Williams plays approximately 120
shows a year, including such festivals as Bonaroo, Telluride,
Bumpershoot and High Sierra. Heís played often with String Cheese
Incident, as well as with Bob Weir and Rat Dog and Rusted Root.
Nice guy or mad scientist? Only
going to hear him will help decide. On the other hand, a whole new
moniker might arise. Thatís how unpredictable the show could be.