Keller & the Keels – Speed

November 20, 2019
Slide & Banjo

Keller Williams is at it again! When it comes to genres, the guy’s a chameleon, a jack-of-all-trades. His latest release, Speed, sees him back on the bluegrass side of the coin with frequent collaborators Larry and Jenny Keel in tow, and the output is strong as ever. More remarkable, it’s his 25th album release – a remarkable accomplishment that speaks to Williams’s tireless work ethic.

As with past Keller & the Keels releases, Speed is all about covers with the trio’s trademark bluegrass bent. Sure, there are originals on the release like “Medulla Oblangata,” but it’s the juxtaposition of pop music reimagined on acoustic instruments that’s the draw here.

The best part about Speed is that Keller doesn’t hold back when it comes to song selection. The trio takes on songs from multiple genres, from classic rock like “Roadhouse Blues” by the The Doors to modern country on Kacey Musgraves’s “Slow Burn.”

One of the stand-out tracks is the most unexpected – a speed bluegrass cover of Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” Midway through the track, Larry Keel delivers an absolutely blistering solo, showing why he’s an in-demand guitar picker.

Weezer is well-represented with both “Islands In The Sun” and “Hash Pipe,” and their take on “Spirits” by The Strumbellas really shows off the trio’s vocal harmonies. It’s almost hard to believe that the Keels and Keller don’t play together much.

People listen to music for all sorts of reasons – to forget about their daily troubles, or to reconnect with some long forgotten memory. Speed fills a different category, though.

It’s just…fun.

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