By Brian Heisler
Keller Williams' Dream is just that - a dream for Keller, a dream for us. Nearly three and a half years since his last studio solo release, Home, this one has been a long time coming. Many fans had wondered if this album was a reality and if the tales of a "heroes album" were actually true. Well, my friends, it has all come true. 16 tracks, all but one featuring award-ceremony level "special guests."
Many of these songs have been road tested over the past couple years but all have a unique twist on Dream. The album kicks off with the punky "Play This." What has been a loud, acoustic song in the past, is the heaviest electric piece here, full of perfectly placed distortion and lyrics that "put some fuzz on it." Keller puts a new, funky yet jazzy spin on an older song, "Celebrate Your Youth," featuring ModeReko with John D'Earth on trumpet. Sliding smoothly into "Cadillac," one would guess this track has to be monumental for this Grateful Dead fan. Keller harmonizes gracefully with Bob Weir, something he probably dreamed of back when he was making those "yearly Indiana vacations" to Deer Creek for Dead shows as he sings on "Gate Crashers Suck." "Cadillac" is fantastic with two clear channels of sound. Headphones reveal a separate guitar in each ear, complimenting each other nicely.
"People Watchin'" adds masters Bela Fleck and Victor Wooten to Keller's twang in a most entertaining match-up. As he sings, "Let me be your dog, and you can be my master," you can just imagine Keller bobbing from side to side, guitar on his chest, with his head wobbling in front of a bouncing crowd. Don't let this one be the last tune you catch before a long day at work or you'll be singing the chorus for the rest of the day. Of course, it could be worse.
Fittingly, Keller's longtime friends, the String Cheese Incident, guest on "Sing For My Dinner." A fine tune with an extended jam, it has a very different feel than Keller's solo version. With the announcement of Billy Nershi leaving SCI, this track becomes all the more memorable. "Restraint" is the only song Keller plays entirely by himself on Dream. He calls himself the "master of restraint" for refraining from "jumping [the] bones" of the recipient of the song (his wife of course). The single, "Life" is an all new bouncy song featuring a classic Peter Frampton style talk-box guitar.
It's difficult not to go into depth on every track on Dream. It's like an album of festival collaborations. In a way, Dream is like a greatest hits album, a look back on the accomplishments of a great career. When a pile of your favorite artists agree to record with you, you've definitely done something right. The one constant with Keller's music is a jovial vibe. Even when he brings in great guests, Keller stays true to his classic sound. Dream is nothing short of amazing from a favorite guitar player and innovator.
JamBase | Worldwide
Go See Live Music!