Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A conversation with Larry Keel

A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure of sitting across the table from one of the most talented musicians of this day and age, Larry Keel. Keel rolled into town with his band, Natural Bridge, for a late night concert in Johnson City. I'm lucky enough to have friends in high places that know I'm a guitar flat picking junkie and that I would jump at the chance to meet the bearded legend. Natural Bridge will be performing at this year's Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion and an interview was set up to introduce Keel to the festival's web-site readers. I was invited to tag along.
Those familiar with Larry Keel know that he has a unique singing style (click here for a sample). Well, he has a unique speaking voice too. Imagine it being like George Carlin's vocal chords transplanted into Bill Monroe. He was very gracious with his time, perhaps just enjoying the fact that he wasn't sitting in his tour van. He seemed to enjoy reminiscing about his start in the music business, what he's doing now and what he's planning for the future. He also gave me a pointer or two about working on my guitar skills. Part of the interview has finally made it to the R&R website, here.
As a side note, during the show he praised East Tennessee State University and their music program for offering Bluegrass studies. He wondered out loud when the day would come that scholars outside of the region would study Bluegrass music like Classical and Jazz is studied today. He also joked to the ETSU students in attendance that if they wanted to play like him, they needed to drink heavily and drop out of college.


Folk Face said...

Larry Keel is one of the most amazing weirdo guitar picking savants that has ever lived. How do you even come up with that stuff, is what I want to know. Good stuff!!!

Bryan Stealey said...

I finally saw him at 123 Pleasant St. in Mo-town a number of months back and he and the gang made my jaw drop. Amazing.

preety said...
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