By Maria Wyllie
Explorebigsky.com Associate Editor
BOZEMAN – Keller Williams is often called a one-man band, but he’s no one-man party. The nationally touring musician will bring the party to the Filling Station, Saturday, Nov. 23, for what’s sure to be a packed house.
Williams will bring his guitar and a looping tool to the stage, releasing his inner grooves through his voice and fingers. Williams’ looping device allows him to recreate sounds of other instruments, giving his sound and set list complete freedom to go anywhere.
“The solo-looping thing is what I call my day job,” Williams said in an interview with EBS. “That’s where the term acoustic dance music comes in.”
But the name “acoustic dance music” doesn’t really do him justice. While many artists draw from different genres to create their own sound, Williams is among the few who can effortlessly go from playing rock to reggae to bluegrass to funk, all while remaining true to his own innovative sound.
“It should be illegal – you know, how much fun it is and how I’m allowed to do that,” said Williams, who got his first gig at 16, almost 30 years ago. “My whole entire career is like a relentless pursuit of entertaining myself.”
If playing guitar solo and looping instrumental sounds is the meat of Williams’ day job, then his side projects – collaborating with other artists – are the gravy.
Williams has worked with a broad range of musicians, such as Keith Mosely of the String Cheese Incident, Jeff Austin of Yonder Mountain String Band, Larry Keel, and the Travelin’ McCourys.
His newest project, “More Than a Little,” features Williams in a six-man funk band from his home state of Virginia, where they tap into Richmond’s R&B and Funk scene.
“They operate on a different formula than I’m used to,” Williams said. “It was inspiring to teach them songs and have them teach them back to me.”
An album comprised of two live shows with the band was released Nov. 12 and includes both originals and funkified covers, such as the Grateful Dead’s “West L.A. Fadeaway” and the Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime.”
The “What the FUNK” tour is kicking off in 2014, and perhaps this show at the Filler will give us a taste of what to expect. Williams has so much material to pull from, so you never know what you’re going to get. The only expectation you should bring is that it’s going to be one hell of a time.