KW Enterprises/McCoury music
Keller Williams is known on the festival circuit as an ambitious if not eclectic artist. Sometimes playing solo and other times with a band, he is a musician determined to bring a unique take to acoustic music. In the last few years, however, he has also taken the time to combine forces with groups in the bluegrass world to record interesting and entertaining albums. His two Keller And The Keels albums, featuring Larry and Jenny Keel, were successful collaborations, especially the second album called Thief. Now, Williams has hooked up with another open-minded group of stellar musicians in the Travelin’ McCourys.
The Travelin’ McCourys, of course, is basically the Del McCoury Band sans Del, where Ronnie McCoury, Rob McCoury, Jason Carter, and Alan Bartram team up with other guest guitarists in various configurations. Williams and the Travelin’ McCourys hit it off somewhere down the line and their new album together is called Pick. On it, the quintet attacks Williams’ peculiar musical ideas with verve and enthusiasm, keeping an upbeat approach at all times.
Williams wrote five of the cuts on Pick, including “Mullet Cut,” with its off-kilter riff and off-the-wall lyrics, the romp “Broken Convertible,” and the straight bluegrass number “Bumper Sticker,” featuring vocals by Del McCoury. The group also dissects and reconstructs some covers such as My Morning Jacket’s “I’m Amazed,” “The Graveyard Shift” by Steve Earle and Jessie J’s “Price Tag.” This album will be an acquired taste for some, no doubt. But for those who want a change of pace, who don’t mind a sense of humor and a skewered arrangement or three, you will have fun with Pick. And, as is always the case, the Travelin’ McCourys play wonderfully throughout. (www.kellerwilliams.net, www.thetravelinmccourys.com.)DH