Bluegrass has always been embraced by the Jam community, thanks to Jerry Garcia’s abiding love of old-time music and the unique traditional-yet-contemporary flavor he brought to his own translations.
Native Virginian Larry Keel plays a similar role in the current Jam/Bluegrass scene as a flatpicking acoustic guitarist whose talents as a player, songwriter and vocalist have been hailed by both ends of the spectrum, from hardcore Bluegrass giants like Del McCoury, Tony Rice and Sam Bush to Jam stalwarts like Jorma Kaukonen, Keller Williams and Little Feat.
Keel operates under several musical guises that present the broad range of his capabilities; besides being a compelling solo act, Keel also plays with his wife Jenny and Keller Williams in Keller and the Keels, as well as with the Keel Brothers (a rotating collective that has alternately featured the Bad Livers’ Danny Barnes, Leftover Salmon’s Drew Emmitt, the Yonder Mountain String Band’s Adam Aijala and Jeff Austin) and Natural Bridge, his solid quartet with vocalist/banjo master Will Lee, mandonist/vocalist Mark Schimick and bassist/vocalist/wife Jenny Keel. For his upcoming run of dates, Keel will be out with Natural Bridge promoting their latest album Classic, released this past spring to typically rave reviews.
Whichever side of the Bluegrass/Jam debate you lean toward, Larry Keel will put a smile on your face, a song in your heart and likely wear a couple of layers off the bottom of your best dancing shoes.
DELLOWEEN featuring LARRY KEEL & NATURAL BRIDGE, The Del McCoury Band and The Hackensaw Boys, was to take place Wednesday, Oct. 31 at Madison Theater in Covington but it has been canceled. Refunds available at point of purchase.