This week (Jan 20th) Keller William will release TWO albums. Both on the same day and both very different. I had a chance to sit down and digest both releases prior to them coming out this Friday and here are my thoughts.
RAW- KELLER WILLIAMS (2017)
First up in the Double Shot of Keller Williams is RAW.
RAW is 10 tracks of Keller solo. Just a man and his guitar. I’ve always said that an artist can’t truly be appreciated until you hear him (or her) stripped down to their roots. Like walking down the middle of main street at noon…naked, performing your craft on an acoustic guitar is the most revealing you can be, musically. If you’re willing to show the world all of your flaws along with your fantasies, you’ll never get “it”. Keller has never been afraid to expose himself to his fans, both new and old, and with RAW he once again shows why he is truly one of the best at what he does. He doesn’t just walk down main street, he uses RAW to dance his way along the double yellow line with all his glory there for the world to see.
RAW is full of tasty snacks of songs ranging from a 1:18 “Short Ballad of Camp Zoe” to the longest track, “Cookie’s”, which comes in at 4:52. Keller Williams on RAW is a little bit wandering minstrel, a little bit storyteller and a little bit stand-up comic all woven together to form 10 songs that will make you dance, groove and, most definitely, SMILE…all at the same time.
TOP TRACKS: Short Ballad of Camp Zoe, 2BU, Return to the Moon, Short Show
SYNC- KELLER WILLIAMS (2017)
For your second shot, you get Keller Williams mixed with KWatro to make SYNC. Led by Williams on guitar and vocals, KWahtro infuses reggae, folk, jazz, afrobeat and dance rhythms into new, and innovative arrangements with the help of the superb musicianship from bassist Danton Boller (Jazz Mandolin Project, Roy Hargrove), guitarist and longtime Williams’ collaborator Gibb Droll (Brandi Carlisle, Bruce Hornsby) and drummer Rodney Holmes (Carlos Santana, Steve Kimock). Special guests on the album include The Accidentals, Mike Dillon and Williams’ son Cabell Williams.
If RAW is Keller walking down the street naked, SYNC has him walking into a dimly lit smoke filled and whiskey fueled jazz bar down some back alley. The entrance is a red door with peeling paint and guarded by a large man in a black suit. The room is filled with small tables encircled by overstuffed red vinyl booths, lit by a small single candles. Are you feeling this vibe yet?
SYNC is not just 8 songs sharing the commonality of existing in a single place, SYNC is a complete album, a vibe, seamlessly running from song to song. Each song is unique but the collection sets a mood and that mood is chill. We all love the big sound of a music festival/concert on a giant stage with a sea of gyrating fans but there is something nice about the vibe of a band in a smoke filled, booze soaked bar too. To badly use a LOTR meme quote, one does not simply listen to SYNC, one must kick back, pour a short one and digest SYNC. Each song is a sip of single malt or single barrel small batch best enjoyed not in the crude manner of tossing it back like a cheap shot of mass produced dribble but rather letting it pour over your musical taste buds slowly to get the full depth and body of the tune.
TOP TRACKS: RIPPED 6-PACK, WHATCHOOWANTGURL, MISSING REMOTE, HATEGREEDLOVE
It’s a bold move for an artist to put out two completely different albums on the same day. Keller Williams is not only doing it, you should line up NOW to get them both. I assure you, they’ll be in heavy rotation on your playlist for a long time if you do.