JBO Presents ODD: A Review of Keller Williams’ Latest Studio Venture | JamBandsOnline.com

JBO Presents ODD: A Review of Keller Williams’ Latest Studio Venture

Article & Photos by David Shehi

ODD: Cover Art by Richard Biffle (Courtesy of Madison House)

ODD: Cover Art by Richard Biffle (Courtesy of Madison House)

 

Notoriously bands that fit the often overused “Jam Band” category have difficulty trying to bring their familiar live experience into a formal album. Many times, fans or freeks have heard the tunes in their live format multiple times and enter into a studio album with a prejudice that goes a little something like this: “Keller did this way better when I saw him at (insert festival or city here).” Jambands release albums as almost some sort of formality. In a sense it is like “I am a musician and therefore I need to release a new record.” Many times they make the critical mistake of trying to bring the live experience into the studio while apparently overlooking the blatantly obvious caveats that prevent this from translating effectively. With ODD, Keller Williams has not done this. He has released a relevant album that does not even resemble the effort to duplicate the live experience.

The album opens on a serious note with “Environmental Song” wherein Keller lends his personal insight in an attempt to promote introspection into just what the environment actually means to us individually with the reminder to take it all in as much as we can. He does this primarily with the chorus and refrain of we are all going to die someday, let’s pretend that it is tomorrow. A mellow segue space jam allows for one to ponder. Maybe this was his point, but regardless, it is a thought provoking track that serves as a crisp opener to an album that bounces back and forth between a unique blend of typical Keller hilarity and his more serious side.

Keller performing on Jam Cruise 7

Keller performing on Jam Cruise 7

 

The second track, “A Day at The Office” takes us on a ride through a day in the life of tour and lets the audience know that artists have “God damned mortgages” just as we do. They too miss their folks when they are on the extended business trip also known as tour. This track is catchy from start to finish with classic Keller adages and quirkiness that all of his listeners have come to know and love. In classic “Gate-Crashers Suck” form, Keller also uses this track along with the next, “Spartan Darnit” as an opportunity to take swipes back at those who have offended him. And Keller, we are glad that there is only one of you, anybody else trying to do what you do would just be sound like a douche who would fail miserably. We think you are cool regardless. Take that Blender Magazine!

“Groove of the Storm” reminds us of exactly why we appreciate Keller. He is a fan at the core of his heart and soul who concedes in this tune that he does not get to see as many shows as he would like. He sings about ground scores- no one else can pull that off! In this song he takes us on a mental bender wherein the visualization of a storm is given as he likens it to a show with thunder as the band and rain as the applause. And for good measure he even includes a tripping dancing hippie chick to boot (one of the most important elements at any show in my mind’s eye). It all makes perfect sense coming from Keller because he values live music as much we do and in this track, gives beautiful testament to the music that swirls around us all the time if we will only take time to listen to the sweet sounds.

Performing at The Jammy Awards, 2008

Performing at The Jammy Awards, 2008

 

From here, we get classic Keller full on. Everything from mouth movements as a recognizable instrument to homage to short term memory loss in the track, “Lost.” He proves that he is an every man/woman musician because who can’t relate to “losing a lighter that is in his hand?” “Tundra” takes us up to Keller’s home state of Virginia where as we southerners know all too well what it is like to sweat like Shaq from doing nothing more than walking out the front door. While listening, my mind was drawn to a write-up in the Vegoose musicians’ bio section a few years ago wherein Keller was explaining that he was a blue grass poseur when playing a Keller Incident (SCI with Keller Williams). Not here, my friend. This song would be a welcomed addition to any bluegrass festival from Telluride to Foggy Hollow.

With Keith Moseley, 2009

With Keith Moseley, 2009

 

Perhaps the most catchy of all tunes on this records comes in track ten’s “Doobie in My Pocket.” This song is filled with gut busting hilarious moments. It is filled with many you had to be there moments that I absolutely will not spoil. The closer, “Song for Fela,” is a tribute to Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of afrobeat music, human rights activist, and political maverick, Fela Kuti. The Afrobeat on this brilliant tribute is done in superb space fashion that stays true to both the legend, Fela, and to Keller’s musical repertoire.

Now I must admit that I am wondering why you have not stopped reading and am beginning to feel like Ferris Bueller at the end of his day off and must ask “Why are you still here?” Get this record. In closing, since you are apparently still reading as though you may miss an Icculus encore, to sum it up this album is classic Keller with an advantageous use of the studio process. It is an album that spawns identification with the music and when playing, it feels like you are listening to your best friend’s record. Save for the fact that your friend is not a bad ass one man musical experience. Seriously, the movie is over…now go and get the album!

Track Listing:
1. Environmental Song 3:37
2. Day At The Office 5:11
3. Spartan 4:05
4. Groove Of The Storm 3:52
5. Elephorse 5:45
6. Lost 3:09
7. Warning 6:28
8. Tundra 3:33
9. Ultimate 4:08
10. Doobie In My Pocket 3:32
11. Ear Infection 2:52
12. Song For Fela 4:30

Tour Dates in Support of ODD:

August 6 Bottle and Cork Dewey Beach DE
August 7 Outer Banks Brewing Station Kill Devil Hills NC
August 8 House of Blues Myrtle Beach SC with Almira Fawn
August 12 Spud Drive In Driggs, ID w/ Dark Star Orchestra
August 14 Festival @ Sandpoint at Memorial Field Sandpoint ID
August 15 Frontier Ranch (Shamy Bash) Frontier Ranch Music Center Pataskala, OH

Performing at Rothbury Music Festival, 2009

Performing at Rothbury Music Festival, 2009

 

August 21 Mishawaka Bellevue CO
August 22 Mishawaka Bellevue CO with Moseley, Droll & Sipe
August 29 Music on the Mountaintop ~ The Old Fairgrounds Boone NC
September 3 Bear Tooth Theatre Pub Anchorage AK
September 4 Denali Park Salmon Bake Denali Park AK
September 5 The Blue Loon Fairbanks AK
September 7 Bumbershoot Festival Mural Amphitheatre Seattle WA
September 17 The Depot Salt Lake City UT with Umphrey’s McGee
September 18 Egyptian Theatre Boise ID
September 19 Wilma Theatre Missoula MT
September 20 Emerson Theater Bozeman MT
October 8 Sherman Theater Stroudsburg PA w/ Retro Rocket
October 9 The State Theatre State College PA
October 13 The Intersection Grand Rapids MI
October 15 City Opera House Traverse City MI
October 16 Barrymore Theatre Madison WI
October 17 Park West Chicago IL

On the pool deck, Jam Cruise 7

On the pool deck, Jam Cruise 7

 

October 19 People’s Des Moines IA
October 20 The Beaumont Kansas City MO
October 21 Fargo Theatre Fargo ND
October 22 Varsity Theatre Iowa City IA
October 23 Englert Theatre Iowa City IA
October 24 Murat Center ~ Egyptian Room Indianapolis IN
October 25 Mr. Smalls Theatre Millvale PA
November 11 Ventura Theatre Ventura CA
November 12 House of Blues Anaheim CA
November 13 El Rey Theatre Los Angeles CA
November 14 Belly Up Tavern Solana Beach CA
November 15 Downtown Brewing Co. San Luis Obispo CA
November 17-18 Moe’s Alley Santa Cruz CA
November 19 McNear’s Mystic Theatre Petaluma CA
November 20 Eureka Theatre Eureka CA
November 21 Great American Music Hall San Francisco CA
November 22 Crystal Bay Casino Crystal Bay CA
November 23 The Big Room @ The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Chico CA

For more on Keller, please log on to kellerwilliams.net

One Response to JBO Presents ODD: A Review of Keller Williams’ Latest Studio Venture

  1. gr8ful_deadbeat on August 17, 2009 at 9:22 PM

    Keller is definitely a one man musical experience and you can count on me getting my hands on this new disc as soon as humanly possible! Wonderful article, awesome pics (as always) … thanks for sharing your thoughts on this! Cheers!

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