Keller Williams: 12

By: Bill Clifford

Over the course of a 15 year recording career, commercial radio airplay has been elusive for Keller Williams despite a continually growing fan base. Thus, it would be incorrect to define 12 (being released December 18 on SCI Fidelity) as a greatest hits collection. His twelfth album, it features 11 choice cuts from his previous 11 releases presented chronologically alongside one previously un-released track.

"Turn In Difference" from his 1994 debut, Freek, captures the eccentricities of his songwriting and hints at his guitar prowess in its infancy. While he'd yet to develop his one-man-band style, there's foreshadowing in the layered electric guitar flourishes laid over beds of hushed acoustic strumming. Marimba and the angelic soprano backing vocals by Barbara Nesbit make the inclusion of "Anyhow Anyway" a must. Inexplicably missing is Williams' most popular live song, "Best Feeling," from his fourth album, Breathe, recorded with cohorts String Cheese Incident. The selection of the title track from that recording, while certainly an equally popular song, just isn't the sing-a-long that the former is. However, the bubbly, watery music is buoyed by rhythmic percussion and layered strings from SCI's Michael Travis and Michael Kang, respectively.

After touring with SCI before going solo again, Williams' style underwent a transformation, the results evident on the appropriately titled live CD, Loop. The funky, jazzy excursion "More Than A Little" from that CD features his use of a digital device to record guitar tracks, vocals, bass and even the "mouth fluegel," a vocal effect that doubles as a trumpet, all performed live on stage, digitally captured and then layered one over another, resulting in the sound of a full band.

Williams is a master musician who jumps from one genre to another. Several years later, his style diverged again, this time falling back to one of his earliest influences. "Local" represents his bluegrass CD with The Keels, Grass. This quirky ode to the medicinal plant of choice presents Williams' sense of humor. Closer "Freshies" is the one previously unrecorded song here. It's mellow, quirky and bouncy with a ska backbeat, and running under three minutes has the making of a fun pop song.

Overall, 12 won't likely win Williams new fans in radio, but it is recommended for live music fans who've seen him perform but have yet to get in the ring with his CDs.

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[Published on: 12/15/07]

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All Loving Liberal White Guy Mon 12/17/2007 08:10AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

All Loving Liberal White Guy

Does Keller really rep those abs? Looked like he had a bit of a beer gut before. He should be on a bowflex infomercial.

KCReb Mon 12/17/2007 11:19AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


That album cover is greatness.

I always have and always will love Laugh, but I haven't explored much of his other work. Probably just laziness.

AUSTINITSUA Mon 12/17/2007 02:10PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

His second album was Breathe, (verb) not breath (noun).

I hate to be the grammar police but I just read an article about how Particle "looses" another member.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Thu 12/20/2007 04:44AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

not all of the best grammar can be found here :P

bassdrum200 starstarstar Thu 12/20/2007 08:08PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


pshh lovehandles dood

brewdog123 Fri 12/21/2007 10:17AM
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Grass is an excellent album, one of my favorites of his. I wish he would have put Yoni on this album, always liked that one