On the heels of a summer playing shows and festivals throughout the country, both solo and with The Travelin’ McCoury’s, Keller Williams embarks on a cross-country tour that spans much of the rest of the year. Lauren Lagowski sat down with Keller to talk about his new album Pick and talk about his style of music and some unique burning topics that Keller was happy to answer.
Keller plays September 21st at Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park and September 22 at The Westcott Theater in Syracuse.
Lauren Lagowski: I gave Pick a good listen a few times through. I’m always impressed with how you marry your humor with your incredible talent on the guitar. Where does the inspiration for much of your lyrics come from?
Keller Williams: I like to keep things light and fun and not take myself too seriously. I just put myself in the place of the audience, keep things in a positive direction, and the rest is just entertaining myself.
Lauren: Pick is a unique and awesome bluegrass album that is just a lot of fun to listen to.What was your favorite part of making this album?
Keller: It’s just beautiful playing with such awesome musicians and the vocals in the group are stellar. It was a fun album to make.
Lauren: Have you ever considered having a more permanent band or do you like the freedom of switching it up and playing solo when you want?
Keller: I consider the whole solo looping thing my day job and everything else is just a lot of fun. The freedom and being happy doing both is a beautiful thing. Playing solo is fun and makes me want to play with other musicians and playing in groups makes me want to play solo. It just keeps things interesting for everyone involved.
Lauren: I feel as though switching it up and dipping your toes in different genres has helped you develop as an artist..would you agree?
Keller: Definitely. I like playing dabbling in different genres. In fact this winter I’ll be playing with a six-piece R&B group that I assembled. We started messing around with things in the studio and it’s really funky. I’m really excited to explore that more.
Lauren: That sounds awesome! Where is your favorite place in this wide world to play?
Keller: I’ve played at a lot of amazing places. I love playing Red Rocks and I love playing at The Egg in Albany, there’s so many great ones.
Lauren: Pick is a unique and awesome bluegrass album that is just a lot of fun to listen to.What was your favorite part of making this album? It’s just beautiful playing with such awesome musicians and the vocals in the group are stellar. It was a fun album to make.
Lauren: Why does it seem all your album titles are one word? Is there a purpose or did it just happen like that?
Keller: Not really. I just like to keep things simple and express in one word, what the album is all about. No guess work for the listener.
Lauren: We are excited to welcome you back to Upstate New York. Do you have any special memories of this part of country?
Keller: I’ve played so many great festivals in this part of the country. I have so many great memories of playing out this way. You can’t beat the sunny, warm days and the cool nights with the fans sticking it out and having fun all the while.
Lauren: You obviously have some bluegrass roots. What are some of your other musical influences and genres that really inspire you?
Keller: Victor Wooten, Jaco Pastorius, The Grateful Dead are all major influences in my musical sphere. Michael Hedges is another big one.
Lauren: Who would you like to work with in the future?
Keller: I’d love to work with the guys of Soulive and also The Slip. I think they’re all really talented and put out some amazing music.
Lauren: You get to play with a lot of great musicians. What’s your favorite on-stage collaboration you’ve been apart of?
Keller: I guess the one the sticks out in my mind right now was recently at NedFest in Nederland, Colorado where I played with my friends Steve Kimock, Kyle Hollingsworth, and Dave Watts.
For news and tourdates, visit Keller Williams’ website.