Keller Williams’ Dream Team (Relix Revisited)
Lucinda Williams (no relation) graced the cover of this issue
Williams utilized a number of methods to realize his Dream. In some instances, he shared a studio with his participants (or, as was the case with Michael Franti, a makeshift studio: Franti recorded some of his vocals for “Ninja of Love” on the back of a tour bus). In other cases, he mailed the tracks to the artist (“I wasn’t stupid enough to believe I could get all these people in a room at one time. But I was really getting into recording in this local studio, watching the whole Pro Tools thing go down, and I realized that it could be done very easily: lay down a track, put in a CD, send it to another studio across the country, have them listen to it, record and send it back. A lot of that went down for this record and it was so cool.”).
Whichever means he used, Williams’ confident yet egoless approach predominated. When Charlie Hunter joined him in person to record “Kiwi and the Apricot,” Keller remembers, “This was a song that appears on Loop but with Charlie in mind, I decided to change the beat and make it more of a samba kind of thing. And then he came in and said, ‘This is how we’re going to do it,’ and laid it down. I was just following right along, which is great. The main thing I wanted Charlie to do was to take this tune and make it his own to the point where I didn’t even want to play on it, just have Charlie play on it and I’d sing.”
Part of Williams’ charm, often reflected in his lyrics, is an easygoing, at times goofy nature. In Dream’s liner notes he crows about the fact that Haque had informed him after receiving the music that the “part in 15 is kicking my ass.” Williams explains, “I was proud not only to be able to challenge one of my heroes but have a piece of music that I made up in the time signature of 15.”
While he sometimes describes his compositions as simple, Victor Wooten, who appears twice on Dream (“People Watchin’” and “Got No Feathers”), and whom Williams credits with advancing his own looping techniques, doesn’t altogether agree.
“What I like about his songwriting is it’s unique. It’s good songwriting but it has what I would call Kellerisms in it. ‘People Watchin’’ has this nice groove and then he’ll come up with these weird but interesting triplet trills that are complex but are simple to him. So it was fun for me and challenging to try to match him because he goes from these solid grooves to these fast triple grooves.
“Keller would not call himself a virtuoso technical musician but he can get on the stage with the likes of everyone. The Flecktones play high-level music and everyone’s a technical virtuosic musician but Keller’s musicianship is so high that he can get on that stage. Plus, he’s a really good guy, which is what really matters to me.”
Bob Weir concurs, and even a slight criticism comes with affection: “When I first saw him I was impressed by his chops. He looked to me like he was having a great deal of fun but I hated the sound of the transducer he uses on his guitar. I’m going to lay into him this summer, I think. There’s a better system but he doesn’t know about it. I’m at work inventing it and I’m going to make him one of the first recipients, if I possibly can.”
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
Ron Sexsmith visits the Relix office to perform a tune from his latest record Forever Endeavor.
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