Live Nation and Music & Politics present
in association with Nufunk.ca & The Nujazz Festival
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18th, 2014
@ THE PHOENIX CONCERT THEATRE (410 Sherbourne St.)
with CHAMELEON PROJECT & DJ 1970Slick
Doors @ 7:00pm
Tickets: $21.50 + s/c @ Ticketweb, Rotate This & Soundscapes
In association with Live Nation, The Nujazz Festival and Music & Politics are proud to present the return of KELLER WILLIAMS, one of the most beloved artists in the festival & jam scene, fo his first Toronto show in 8 years! He’ll be playing two full sets, with Toronto’s own Chameleon Project opening up with their unique improvised jazzdubtronica vibes. Not to be missed!
Those who’ve followed Keller Williams’ recording career to date know that he has given each of his albums a single-syllable title: FREEK, BUZZ, SPUN, BREATHE, LOOP, LAUGH, HOME, DANCE, STAGE, GRASS, DREAM, TWELVE, REX, LIVE, ODD, THIEF, KIDS, BASS, PICK, KEYS and FUNK. Each title serves not only as a concise summation of the concept guiding the particular project but also as another piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is Keller Williams. GRASS, for example, is a bluegrass recording, cut with the husband-wife duo the Keels. STAGE is a live album and DREAM the end product of a wish list: Keller collaborating with some of his greatest musical heroes. THIEF is a set of unexpected cover songs. And KIDS offers up, you guessed it, Williams’ first and possibly only children’s record.
The naming trend has continued with 2012’s BASS and PICK, respectively a set of songs where Keller plays bass and William’s collaboration with royal bluegrass family The Travelin’ McCourys. In 2013 – Keller released FUNK with his newest collaboration – a six-piece funk outfit – More Than a Little. What all of the titles reveal, when taken together, is an artist of great stylistic breadth and infinite imagination, a singer, songwriter and musician, always on a quest for the new. Keller Williams has never followed the prescribed path laid out by the conventional music business, nor has he taken the prescribed meds laid out by his team of conventional doctors. Instead, he has taken the A.D.D. path (Artistic, Determined, Dedication). It’s a path that has served him quite well.
Since he first appeared on the scene in the early ’90s, Williams has defined the term independent artist. And his recordings tell only half the story. Keller built his reputation initially on his engaging live performances, no two of which are ever alike. For most of his career he has performed solo. His stage shows are rooted around Keller singing his compositions and choice cover songs, while accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. With the use of today’s technology, Keller creates samples on the fly in front of the audience, a technique called live phrase sampling or looping, With nothing pre-recorded, the end result often leans toward a hybrid of alternative folk and groovy electronica. A genre Keller jokingly calls “acoustic dance music” or ADM.”
That approach, Williams explains, was derived from “hours of playing solo with just a guitar and a microphone, and then wanting to go down different avenues musically. I couldn’t afford humans and didn’t want to step into the cheesy world of automated sequencers where you hit a button and the whole band starts to play, then you’ve got to solo along or sing on top of it. I wanted something more organic yet with a dance groove that I could create myself.”
Williams’ solo live shows—and his ability to improvise to his determinedly quirky tunes despite the absence of an actual band—quickly became the stuff of legend, and his audience grew exponentially when word spread about this exciting, unpredictable performer. Once he began releasing recordings, starting with 1994’s FREEK, Williams was embraced by an even wider community of music fans, particularly the jam band crowd. While his live gigs have largely been solo affairs, Williams has nearly always used his albums as a forum for collaborations with fellow musicians. An alliance with The String Cheese Incident on 1999’s BREATHE marked Williams’ first release on the band’s label SCI Fidelity Records, an imprint he still partners with today for recordings. DREAM, Keller’s 2007 release, found him in the company of such iconic musicians as the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, banjo master Béla Fleck, bass great Victor Wooten, American musician/poet Michael Franti and many others.