Down on Main: Keller Williams kicks off first summer concert

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

Keller Williams celebrated more than just freedom on Independence Day – he also celebrated the release of a new album the day before.
Williams spent part of his Fourth of July holiday in an airport, ready to go to his next gig to support “Pick,” a CD he made with the Travelin’ McCourys. The band, made up of sons of bluegrass great Del McCoury, rotate guitar players, including Williams, so they chose him to record a new CD with them.
“We got together one day in Nashville and played through a bunch of songs and enjoyed playing with each other and rehearsing,” Williams said in a phone interview with the Journal. “It happened organically.”
Can fans expect to hear a few of songs from “Pick” when Williams takes the stage at Fairpark tonight? Maybe a few, he said, but after all, Williams plays way more styles of music than just bluegrass.
“There’s an enormous amount of material in my repertoire,” Williams said. “There’s really no rhyme or reason to my setlists of a solo show. It’s whatever I’m feeling that day; it’s a bit of a gamble.”
Williams’ solo shows have earned him the nickname “one-man jam band,” as he can use live looping – or phrase sampling – to re-create guitar, bass, vocal or drum sounds. With more than 15 albums under his belt, he can pull from any genre he’s mastered, which includes bluegrass, rock, folk, reggae, funk and dance.
“It’s deeply rooted in solo acoustic rhythmic music and guitar, with kind of a dance beat,” he said. “It’s positive, upbeat, acoustic type of music laced with rhythmic dance grooves that’s created live on the spot. They’ll more than likely hear songs they know and recognize but possibly done in a different way. …I’ve always said that I’m a music fan first, musician second, songwriter third.”
Though Williams keeps a steady roster of gigs, he’s also spent a lot of time in the studio recently. He has two new records already recorded: one is a follow-up to “Rex,” his bluegrass Grateful Dead tribute record, and the other is a record of nothing but Williams on guitar and vocals. Both will be released in 2013, he said.
But that’s in 2013. This year, Williams is focused on promoting “Pick,” which includes a stop at Down on Main.
“Touring is revolved around the weekends. I’m home during the week and during the weekends I go out and play. It’s really a wonderful, wonderful way of life,” he said. “That’s my favorite part of what I do, is to be able to play a free show (like Down on Main). It benefits everybody.”
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com

WHO: Keller Williams, Dangermuffin

WHEN: 6:30 tonight

WHERE: Fairpark, Tupelo

COST: Free

INFO: tupelodownonmain.com, (662) 841-6598

EXTRA: The Salvation Army will be at Down on Main accepting canned
goods and non-perishable food items.

UPCOMING DOWN ON MAIN SHOWS
• Aug. 9: Marty Stuart, Eden Brent

• Sept. 13: Emmitt-Nershi Band, Della Mae