Keller Williams Bass Review

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January 12, 2012 by Benji

I have been listening to Keller Williams (the musician not the real estate company) for over 10 years now. The man is incredible. I had the same reaction to his music the first time I heard it, as when I heard Leo Kottke; “Man! those guys play so well together”, only to find out it was one person.

Keller has just released his 17th album called Bass . Keller normally makes albums as a solo act playing all the instruments himself. He does have albums with bands like The String Cheese Incident, the Keels,  and with a band he formed called Keller, Mosley, Droll and Sipe. But those albums were clearly marked Keller and… this looks like a Keller Williams (solo) album, but has his band Kdubalicious which includes Jay Starling on Keys and Mark D on Drums. The band is a Jazz, Funk, Reggae conglomerate, and they are awesome!

Keller’s bass playing is so clearly recognizable as his style of music. He plays a ton of notes when he can, lots of tapping and pulling on strings and lots of sliding up the fret board. Possibly more recognizable are his whimsical, sometimes goofy lyrics. In the song titled The Sun and Moon’s Vangenda  he sings “feeling right, my toes to the sky”  in a smooth funk jazz setting. You would expect to hear a serious love song with that music, but Keller keeps it fun! The song Positive with its “rubadub” lyrics is just goofy, but totally Keller.

Keller has been known for his “mad scientist” of music act, where he uses loop machines to layer the music  and makes people dance to the sounds of insanity he can get out of his head.  But in 2010 Keller released an album called Kids (see my review here). No surprise this is a kids album, with songs like Mama Tooted and Car Seat . He then went on tour for a good chunk of 2011 with Yo Gaba Gaba. He opened his audience up to an entire market who had never heard of him. Singing to the kids, but selling music to the parents.

I think this is a fantastic choice of a follow-up album. Its mellow and smooth, arguably mainstream in its ease on the ears. Not that  Thin mint or Freeker by the Speaker are not fantastic songs. But this album may have his best shot of radio play even with the silly lyrics. If you have not checked out Keller’s music in the past, this is a great place to start, but don’t be surprised that as you go through his discography, the styles and sounds are very different. Lastly as a music junkie, I suggest you check out Keller’s YouTube page, he is a very entertaining man. His music videos are interesting and his at home musings are engaging.

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