People were still streaming into The Egg long after singer-songwriter Keller Williams took the stage. Perhaps many thought there would be an opener, but that was not the case.
The audience that came to see Williams were mostly twentysomethings from the jam-band scene. His catalog of more than a dozen albums finds him exploring a lot of musical turf. In recent years, he’s released a children’s album (and yes, he played a kids’ show at The Egg earlier in the afternoon), an offbeat bluegrass album with the Keels, a solo studio album, a live all-star quartet disc, a greatest-hits retrospective and a live bluegrass album of Grateful Dead covers. And that’s just since 2008. have fuelled his career and consistent touring has won him truckloads of fans along the way.
On stage by himself at The Egg, Williams bore a visual resemblance to a young Martin Sexton. However, Sexton tends to lyrically blow over hills and valleys with his spirited performances. Williams, on the other hand, is a dynamic typhoon of guitar virtuosity with a scorched-earth approach that screams from the mountain tops and then plunges musically into the deep blue sea far below.
With a bass guitar suspended on a rack to his right and an electric hovering on his left, Williams switched between them and the acoustic guitar around his neck to create a sonic tapestry that was uniquely his own.
One minute the music was frenzied, and in the next pastoral. There aren’t many who can do what Williams does with looping electronics and three guitars. Maybe Adrian Belew comes close, but Belew only sings on a very few songs, while Williams vocals were crucial on most of his songs.
Review and photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk