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Keller Williams Embraces His Band Fantasy

Of the Oakland Press

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During his 14-year, 15-album public recording career, guitar virtuoso Keller Williams has been known as a one-man band. But his new “Live” album marks his debut with a band — a point in his career that Williams says he’s actually always aspired toward.

“This band is all about living out my childhood rock ’n’ roll fantasies,” says the Virginia-born Williams, 38, who’s joined on the album by guitarist Gibb Droll (Marc Broussard, Brandi Carlile), bassist Keith Moseley (String Cheese Incident) and drummer Jeff Sipe (Leftover Salmon, Aquarium Rescue Unit). “I started out in bands as a 16- and 17-year-old in high school, and that went into college.

“But it was always much easier to get work as a solo (act), and when I tried to make (music) my real job, of course, I couldn’t really afford to have a band. And finally when I got to the point where I could afford a band, it started to work as a solo. It wasn’t broken, so why should I fix it?”

With “Live,” however, Williams has finally indulged his band — and even included songs from the other members’ canons, some of which feature vocals. “The time was just right,” Williams explains, even if it meant drastically changing the arrangements of old favorites such as “Juggler.”

“It’s kind of like breathing new life into these songs,” he notes. “Some of these songs I’ve been playing for 15 years, and to have these guys put their touch on it, it turns them into these whole different things.

“It starts with that original solo acoustic concept and then morphs into this really cool band arrangement. I just show ‘em the chords and let them take it from there and add their own little ideas, and they usually wind up way cooler than they were at the beginning.”

Keller Williams and his band perform Sunday (Sept. 21) at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $22 in advance, $25 day of show. Call (248) 399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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