A night with Keller Williams at The Blue Note
The Virginia-based artist talks about festivals, the Redskins and being a man of many genres.
When: Tonight at 9 p.m. Where: The Blue Note Tickets: $18-$20
Since the 1990s, Keller Williams has been making music — not for the money and fame but to share his passion and love of music with fans. As a lover of all music, Williams embraces new and current genres that inspires today's generation, and because of that, he finds new ways to identify with the audience.
[MOVE]: You've played at music festivals like Bonnaroo, All Good Music, Summer Camp and, of course, the late and great Mile High Music Festival. What is your favorite festival?
[Keller Williams]: Wow, there are so many different festivals. I would say the High Sierra Festival held out in Quincy, California has been great. The fastest way to get there is to fly from Reno, and it is a couple hours away from San Francisco. I think one of my favorite festivals I actually went to before I got on the bill is the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Telluride, Colorado.
[M]: Can you tell me a little bit about your latest project, More Than a Little?
[KW]: It is deeply rooted in soul-funk music. There are six of us, and we stick to the traditional setup of guitar, bass, keys, drums, vocals and back-up vocals. The back-up vocals are headed by two ladies named Tonya (Lazenby Jackson) and Sugah (Davis), and instead of being in the background, they are at the front of the stage.
[M]: How has the music industry changed since you hit the scene in the '90s?
[KW]: There has been a shift in musical style. Folks that attend live shows are of a younger crowd. Since the '90s, the computer revolution has crept in slowly and taken over the live music scene. Music in general has changed for the better, especially for music lovers. It is the best time to be a music lover because you can virtually get any song for free ... It hurts most artists in terms of money sales. I did not get into the business for money, and there is always something special and unique about live music and the live experience.
[M]: What are your thoughts on electronica and dubstep music?
[KW]: I am a fan. It starts with the live experience and what people and artists are experiencing together. It encompasses all that a live show has to offer. Electronica has a certain type of formula — the buildup and the drop. You don’t need to know the material, such as lyrics, to get it, unlike a rock album where you want to sing along. I listen to a lot of those artists.
[M]: Where was the craziest venue you ever played at?
[KW]: The very first Bonnaroo I remember it was crazy. At the time, the jam scene was at its height. As we got called up, we were told that thousands of people were in the audience. It was a surreal experience.
[M]: What do you do when you are not on the road?
[KW]: I have two kids. They are 4 and 8 years old. I do the normal dad things and I am home every week from Sunday to Thursday. I take them to school (and) play an array of sports and a lot of Xbox. When they go to sleep, I work to perfect my craft. It is always a work in progress, and you always have to move forward. I am currently putting together a live record.
[M]: What are your thoughts on the Washington Redskins coming from Virginia?
[KW]: I think (Robert Griffin III) is the absolute fucking shit. RG3 is amazing and our savior. I didn’t agree with the coach keeping him in the rest of the NFC Wild Card Game, but it is going to be a great next couple of years. Hail to the Redskins!
[M]: What do you look forward to most this year?
[KW]: The collaborations. I have three different ones along with my solo career. I call my solo career my day job. There is a handful with Keller & The Keels and More Than a Little. When I started in the business, I couldn’t afford work with others, but after a few years in the industry, it's nice to get back to the original idea, and that is to collaborate.