Virginia Bluegrass Guitarist Larry Keel
From Lanny Fields, Community Idea Stations – I’ve had the pleasure of seeing flat-picker Larry Keel perform on many occasions. The Virginia-born guitarist has been turning heads since his days as a teenage phenom at the Galax fiddlers convention and other jam sessions around the state. His playing style is reminiscent of acoustic pickers Tony Rice and Doc Watson – fast, hot licks coupled with raw emotion. In addition to his technical skill, many are drawn to Keel’s raspy, weathered singing voice, which gives him a distinctive edge.
In the 1990’s Keel enjoyed success with the beloved Virginia bluegrass band Magraw Gap that also featured banjo player Will Lee, Danny Knicely on mandolin and bassist John Flower. I particularly remember a great show Magraw Gap played at Trax in Charlottesville during this time period. Larry has also collaborated with the Virginia singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Keller Williams in the group Keller and the Keels, which also includes Larry’s wife and bassist Jenny Keel. Their recent album Thief contained a diverse collection cover songs.
Larry’s current band Natural Bridge finds him reunited with Will Lee on 5-string banjo, with wife Jenny, bass and Mark Schimick, mandolin. This multi-talented string band steps beyond the boundaries of traditional bluegrass to create a progressive amalgam of American Mountain Music. Be sure to check out Larry Keel and Natural Bridge at Capital Alehouse this Friday, April 22nd at 10:00 p.m.