New album embodies spirit of live show

Brenna McNamara

For 15 years, Keller Williams has made a name for himself throughout clubs as a one-man act with enough enthusiasm for an entire band.

In his recent release, he steps away from his solo career to share the stage with bassist Keith Moseley (String Cheese Incident), guitarist Gibb Droll (Marc Boussard, Brandi Carlile) and percussionist Jeff Sipe (Aquarium Rescue Unit, Phil Lesh).

The casualness of the quad’s match-up makes the already friendly music far more likable. They played together at a Bonnaroo ’07 side stage, received great feedback and decided to play some East Coast venues that fall. Again, they received positive feedback, and they launched a Winter 2008 tour. They decided to use some of that material to make a live collaboration album.

And such is the birth of “Keller Williams w/Moseley, Droll and Sipe: LIVE,” released on Sept. 16 with a live DVD.

Classic Williams tracks such as “The Juggler,” “Bob Rules” and “You Are What You Eat” really glisten with the addition of Droll’s psychedelic guitar riffs, the steady landscape of Sipe’s percussion and Moseley’s head-bopping, groove-moving bass.

“LIVE” is a peek into a friendly jam session rather than a peek through glass studio windows. Williams seems right at home allowing everyone to dance to his music, full of lengthy jams and humorous improv.

This comfort and friendliness is the charm of the album. Somehow knowing four friends had so much fun playing together is different from so much music out there.

This project is a rarity that solidifies my faith in music. There is quality, not just in the sound, but in the vibe, personality and talent. The most spectacular thing about “LIVE” is how its ends justify its means – that is, as much happiness is heard in the final project that had bounced around during its creation.

Contact all reporter Brenna McNamara at [email protected].