Keller Williams has been flowing through the Southern Tier for nearly twenty years. His first Ithaca appearance at The Haunt in April, 2002 included all the elements that has seen him earn the nickname “the one-man jam-band.” Some first heard of “K Dubb” on, K-Rock’s Sunday Night Jam Session, as an on air winner for entry to his various Central New York shows. When he played inside Ithaca College in November, 2004 while running late from Oswego, we had to rely on a Savoy Truffle ninja inside the lecture hall. She was stealth enough to provide some bracelets to gain entry to Williams performance.
I can silently sneak through your halls…I’m a ninja.
His November, 2021 performance at, Homer Center for the Arts, in Homer, New York saw everything come full-circle as Keller laid down two sets of blended covers. The semi seated audience cheered on as Keller brought a Rodney Dangerfield “Back to School” humor to the room. Keller also did a cover of “Back of the Bus” off of G Love’s 2004 alternative hip-hop record, The Hustle. Rhyming,
Get your ass out of bed, Cause you know the bus is coming, If you miss the damn bus well you better start running.
It trembled and exploded, left a bus stop in its place. The bus came by and I got on, that’s when it all began.
From 1993 until 2002 Keller crafted an original song book that he weaves in to his sets today. His performances in now defunct rooms like, The Haunt and Terrapin Crossroads have now closed become legendary. His vitality and all-around quality shows inspired Central New York’s John McConnell to add a full looping rig to his acoustic one man show after seeing his 2004 Ithaca performance.
Not to worry Keller still shared the same “Cumberland Blues” the ‘Dead had in his 2002 set at the Haunt. The Homer Center for The Arts was no different as he treated the crowd to a magical rendition of “Terrapin Station” on the grand piano. Further south down route 81 in Scranton Keller’s, Grateful Grass, project shared the Peach Festival stage with Bob Weir in 2015. In similar fashion Keller invited Floodwood’s mandolinist Jason Barady to the stage for a Grateful Dead classic that really is truer than you think, The duo educated the crowd that “The Women Are Smarter” to close the show at the Center in 2021.
One of the most exciting things about witnessing Williams perform his magic live is the way the audience gets a “backstage” view of the musical production process. While seasoned fans may know right off the bat which song he has begun to piece together, the rest of the crowd can enjoy the pleasure of listening to the slow build-up of the song as he plays, records, and loops live on stage. Waiting for that moment of recognition as he drops a familiar beat or lyric.
If you are a fan of live music, dancing, feeling like you are a part of a live show, or rugs that really tie the stage together, man, do yourself a favor and buy a ticket next time Keller Williams graces Little Rock with his presence. Little Rock? Wait that’s farther south than the Southern tier. The past two paragraphs are credited to Central New York’s Erin Holland’s show review of Keller Williams at Revolution Music Room in Little Rock for The Arkansas Times in 2013. That’s right the women are smarter. The women are smarter, that’s right.