Plan on seeing heads bobbing, acoustic dance music, with tongue in cheek lyrics, possible cover songs…might see some happy hairy people, dancing around a little bit…(on what to expect from a live show).
This podcast is sponsored by Artspire La Crosse.
This podcast is brought to you by Artspire presented by the Pump House Regional Art Center to attract, engage, and connect artists in the community through an Art Fair and Sale on Saturday, June 12. Information is that artspire.thepumphouse.org. We talked with the multi instrumentalist phenom Keller Williams, we chat getting back on tour, recording an album over the phone, humor, what people should expect from an upcoming show at La Crosse’s Pearl Street Brewery, and what is next for this nationally touring musician. You can find more conversations on our website, lacrosselocal.com. I’m Amy. And I’m Brent. And this is La Crosse Local.
Brent Hanifl 01:28
Dude brah. That’s a good name.
Keller Williams 01:30
What is that?
Brent Hanifl 01:32
I said your your name is dude brah on your Zoom account.
Keller Williams 01:35
Dude. Dude Is it dude, brah.
Brent Hanifl 01:38
Keller Williams 01:42
Sweet. I forgot. I guess that’s something I came up with a long time ago.
Brent Hanifl 01:48
Well, that works. So I’m under assumption. I mean, just looking at your website, you’re basically just getting back on tour right after the break during COVID.
Keller Williams 01:59
Yeah, you know, I was fortunate enough to do something like 22 shows between August and December from last year. So I’ve definitely been able to, you know, do some form of work, whether it be from a huge distant, you know, online stuff, but definitely, you know, I think yeah, this it’s like, every weekend coming up is, something’s happening. So it’s definitely getting back to the normal way of having to think, which is completely different from the last year.
Brent Hanifl 02:36
Yeah, cause how many dates do you normally do? In 2019, perhaps?
Keller Williams 02:41
I think it was around 100, between 100 and 110. I think. So it was a big change, obviously, to drop off to very few. And I’ll be honest with you, it was really nice, kind of leaned into it. But getting back into, you know, the every weekend kind of mentality, which is important.
Brent Hanifl 03:04
Speaking of that, you know, looking back at kind of your, you know, your catalogue of albums, it seems like every year or two, it seems like you’re releasing, you know, something new. And you kind of mentioned there during the pandemic, has the pandemic effected that output? Or is it you know, as you said, is it something that has kind of been embraced? Has it helped your creativity at all?
Keller Williams 03:24
Interestingly enough, I released a record called Cell that was everything I recorded, I recorded into my cell phone, you know. And I actually took that voice memo recording, and I sent it to this very talented electronic musician producer named Bobby West, who goes by the name Ero Thyme, and that’s E-R-O T-H-Y-M-E Ero Thyme. And he took these tracks and he edited them and created these amazing tracks out of it. And then there’s a few of them where I I sang my vocals you know, through the cell phone and sent him these voice memo recordings and put it all together. Andwhat it came out with is a really interesting record called Cell. And I think there’s eight tracks and I think about six of them were complete improvs and done on the back porch so sometimes you could hear the the bugs and the birds and things. And it’s really quite interesting. And that was very much inspired due to the fact I didn’t really have a whole lot of material. So I was just doing improvs. It was very interesting way to record and come up with materials. Just making stuff up. And because it’s called Cell I literally phoned it in.
Brent Hanifl 04:57
Keller Williams 04:57
That joke work. Perfect, at least on you.
Brent Hanifl 05:02
So traditionally, though, you know, in years past was a lot of music worked out on the road, based on your shows, it seems like there’s a lot of improvisation. So I’m just kind of wondering is that how its normally done before you got in the studio?
Keller Williams 05:13
Yeah, usually, songs were completely worked up, and I could, I could knock out a record, if need be, in like a week. If I’m just coming in hot off a bunch of shows playing all these songs, you kind of know where they go, you know how they go. And you have a vision, you know. Recently, I’ve been actually making up songs, and coming in and recording them and then abandoning them, and then forgetting them, and then revisiting them. And it’s just the whole, they’re all new all over again. And it’s a really interesting way to go about it. And that’s what I’ve been doing the past couple, maybe two months, I guess. I’ve been working on a project here at my hometown studio, the Wally Cleavers Recording Studio in Fredericksburg, Virginia with the engineer, Jeff Covert. And we’ve done a lot of projects together. And so it’s completely two different records from Cell. And then what this one is going to be, which hopefully, is going to be released on vinyl no later than November, is what my goal is.
Brent Hanifl 06:28
Alright. So just kind of revisiting your catalogue over, you know, the last couple of days. How does humor play into your songwriting? And is it just something that comes naturally when you’re kind of just up there?
Keller Williams 06:38
Well, lately, it’s been more about entertainment of myself,
Brent Hanifl 06:45
Locally in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and I believe you’ve played at Pearl Street Brewery before in the past, you’ll be performing Friday, June 4, at Pearl Street Brewery out in the parking lot. For someone who you know, may not know your your music or your shows specifically, what can people expect?
Keller Williams 07:02
Well, they can expect hopefully to be entertained. And hopefully, they can join me on a journey to some kind of distant musical and visual world where they can forget about the outside problems, as they are all going to be there after the show’s over. Really, honestly, they can just plan on seeing kind of a head bobbing, acoustic, dance music, with tongue in cheek lyrics, possible cover songs that they might recognize, but done in a different way. They might see some happy, hairy people danced around a little bit, you know, it’s possible. It’s very possible. But hopefully, they can expect a positive experience. That’s kind of what I go for.
Brent Hanifl 08:01
Absolutely. So you kind of mentioned a few sort of things coming out here, but what are you excited for in 2021, even 2022? Anything?
Keller Williams 08:10
I’m just excited for the festival world and also a little nervous about it as well, the larger festivals with the multiple 1000s of folks. It’s gonna be different. Knowing you know, what the world is like and what we’ve been through, and it seems like it’s doing it’s just rocketing back and, you know, so I’m excited but little nervous about it. Going to be a little skeptical, but you know, there’s that adrenaline and that wondering cheery curiosity of how it’s going to be. But excited to have that, that energy again on stage. With a lot of people in front of you. That’s a really beautiful part of my life that I cherish that I’ve definitely missed.
Brent Hanifl 08:53
If people want to find out more do this head over to kellerwilliams.net or is there any particular social media that you’re pretty active on?
Keller Williams 08:59
Well, I think the Facebook, Instagram I think the .net I think houses it all. And you can go there and decide where you want to go from there and use that as a hub or just hang out and live there if you like. There’s room for everybody.
Amy Gabay 09:20
La Crosse Local Podcast is a production of River Travel Media. Do you have an interview idea you’d like to share with us? Message us on Facebook @lacrosselocal. Find out more about us at lacrosselocal.com. And you can subscribe to the La Crosse Local podcast on your favorite podcast app. If you’d like us, rate us five stars. We appreciate it.
About La Crosse Local
La Crosse Local is an arts, food, and entertainment podcast and publication for La Crosse County and its surrounding communities.
Find us in your favorite podcast app.