Leo Kottke & Keller Williams

Shut The Folk Up And Listen Featuring

Leo Kottke & Keller Williams

Fri, April 7, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$40 Reserved Seat, $55 Premium Reserved Seat

This event is all ages

Leo Kottke
Leo Kottke
Acoustic guitarist Leo Kottke was born in Athens, Georgi
a, but left town after a year and
a half. Raised in 12 different states, he absorbed a
variety of musical influences as a
child, flirting with both violin and trombone, befor
e abandoning Stravinsky for the guitar
at age 11.
After adding a love for the country-blues of Mississipp
i John Hurt to the music of John
Phillip Sousa and Preston Epps, Kottke joined the Navy
underage, to be underwater,
and eventually lost some hearing shooting at lightbulb
s in the Atlantic while serving on
the USS Halfbeak, a diesel submarine.
Kottke had previously entered college at the U of Missou
ri, dropping out after a year to
hitchhike across the country to South Carolina, then to
New London and into the Navy,
with his twelve string. "The trip was not something I
enjoyed," he has said, "I was broke
and met too many interesting people."
Discharged in 1964, he settled in the Twin Cities area
and became a fixture at
Minneapolis' Scholar Coffeehouse, which had been home
to Bob Dylan and John
Koerner. He issued his 1968 recording debut LP Twelve
String Blues, recorded on a
Viking quarter-inch tape recorder, for the Scholar's t
iny Oblivion label. (The label
released one other LP by The Langston Hughes Memorial
Eclectic Jazz Band.)
After sending tapes to guitarist John Fahey, Kottke was
signed to Fahey's Takoma label,
releasing what has come to be called the Armadillo rec
ord. Fahey and his manager
Denny Bruce soon secured a production deal for Kottke wi
th Capitol Records.
Kottke's 1971 major-label debut, "Mudlark," positioned
him somewhat uneasily in the
singer/songwriter vein, despite his own wishes to remain
an instrumental performer. Still,
despite arguments with label heads as well as with Bru
ce, Kottke flourished during his
tenure on Capitol, as records like 1972's "Greenhouse" a
nd 1973's live "My Feet Are
Smiling" and "Ice Water" found him branching out with
guest musicians and honing his
guitar technique.
With 1975's Chewing Pine, Kottke reached the U.S. Top
30 for the second time; he also
gained an international following thanks to his contin
uing tours in Europe and Australia.
His
collaboration with Phish bassist Mike Gordon, "Clone," c
aught audiences' attention in
2002. Kottke and Gordon followed with a recording i
n the Bahamas called "Sixty Six
Steps," produced by Leo's old friend and Prince produce
r David Z.
Kottke has been awarded two Grammy nominations; a Doct
orate in Music Performance
by the Peck School of Music at the U of Wisconsin, Milwau
kee; and a Certificate of
Significant Achievement in Not Playing the Trombone f
rom the U of Texas at Brownsville
with Texas Southmost College.
Keller Williams
Keller Williams
Those who’ve followed Keller Williams’ recording career to date know that he has given each of his albums a single-syllable title: FREEK, BUZZ, SPUN, BREATHE, LOOP, LAUGH, HOME, DANCE, STAGE, GRASS, DREAM, TWELVE, LIVE, ODD, THIEF, KIDS, BASS, PICK, FUNK, and most recently, VAPE (released April 20, 2015). Each title serves not only as a concise summation of the concept guiding the particular project but also as another piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is Keller Williams. GRASS, for example, is a bluegrass recording, cut with the husband-wife duo the Keels. STAGE is a live album and DREAM the end product of a wish list: Keller collaborating with some of his greatest musical heroes. THIEF is a set of unexpected cover songs. And KIDS offers up, you guessed it, Williams’ first and possibly only children’s record.

The naming trend continued with 2012’s BASS and PICK, respectively a set of songs where Keller plays bass and William’s collaboration with royal bluegrass family The Travelin’ McCourys. With VAPE, released in April 2015 – Keller celebrates his 20th official album release. What all of the titles reveal, when taken together, is an artist of great stylistic breadth and infinite imagination, a singer, songwriter and musician, always on a quest for the new. Keller Williams has never followed the prescribed path laid out by the conventional music business, nor has he taken the prescribed meds laid out by his team of conventional doctors. Instead, he has taken the A.D.D. path (Artistic, Determined, Dedication). It’s a path that has served him quite well.

Since he first appeared on the scene in the early ’90s, Williams has defined the term independent artist. And his recordings tell only half the story. Keller built his reputation initially on his engaging live performances, no two of which are ever alike. For most of his career he has performed solo. His stage shows are rooted around Keller singing his compositions and choice cover songs, while accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. With the use of today’s technology, Keller creates samples on the fly in front of the audience, a technique called live phrase sampling or looping, With nothing pre-recorded, the end result often leans toward a hybrid of alternative folk and groovy electronica. A genre Keller jokingly calls “acoustic dance music” or ADM.”

That approach, Williams explains, was derived from “hours of playing solo with just a guitar and a microphone, and then wanting to go down different avenues musically. I couldn’t afford humans and didn’t want to step into the cheesy world of automated sequencers where you hit a button and the whole band starts to play, then you’ve got to solo along or sing on top of it. I wanted something more organic yet with a dance groove that I could create myself.”

Williams’ solo live shows—and his ability to improvise to his determinedly quirky tunes despite the absence of an actual band—quickly became the stuff of legend, and his audience grew exponentially when word spread about this exciting, unpredictable performer. Once he began releasing recordings, starting with 1994’s FREEK, Williams was embraced by an even wider community of music fans, particularly the jam band crowd. While his live gigs have largely been solo affairs, Williams has nearly always used his albums as a forum for collaborations with fellow musicians. An alliance with The String Cheese Incident on 1999’s BREATHE marked Williams’ first release on the band’s label SCI Fidelity Records, an imprint he still partners with today for recordings. DREAM, Keller’s 2007 release, found him in the company of such iconic musicians as the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, banjo master Béla Fleck, bass great Victor Wooten, American musician/poet Michael Franti and many others.
Venue Information:
Variety Playhouse
1099 Euclid Ave NE
Atlanta, GA, 30307
http://variety-playhouse.com/