Keller Williams to perform at F.M. Kirby Center

Amanda Bialek and Shannon O'Connor, LA&E Editor and LA&E Assistant Editor

Keller Williams, the barefoot, multi-instrumental performer is bringing his acrobatic style of music to Wilkes-Barre this holiday season. His hybrid of folk, jazz and electronica is bound to get audience members grooving to the beat.

His appearance to the music scene during the early 90s brought definition to the term independent artist. Most of his career, he has performed solo. Williams built his reputation on his engaging live performances, none of which are alike. His shows include him singing his compositions and cover songs, while accompanying himself on the acoustic guitar.

Williams is known for his unique style of music known as acoustic dance music, or ADC. Acoustic dance music combines alternative folk with electronic music that is based on live phrase sampling or looping with no pre-recording.   

“I was playing with an acoustic guitar and a microphone, you know, still focusing on trying to play something you could really head-bop to or really keeping the beat, some kind of backbeat,” Williams said.

Williams said he wanted a more organic approach to music that would allow him to create a dance groove without the use of automated sequencers. His live shows are known for being unpredictable and exciting based on his ability to improvise and develop interesting tunes with the absence of a band.

He discovered his interest in music as a toddler. Williams remembers pretending to play the guitar and other instruments. By the age of 14, he was learning how to play chords by listening to the music he heard on the radio and copying the notes. At age 16, Williams landed his first paid gigs at local restaurants.

“It just seemed a lot easier to have fun and play music than to go and scrape mortar out of the cracks of cinder block walls for eight hours and make similar money,” Williams said.

Williams has been touring for years across the United States. He often switches from solo to group tours. Most famously, Williams has toured with Michael Franti, The String Cheese Incident and all living members of The Grateful Dead.

For Williams, touring with Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, former drummers of The Grateful Dead, was a dream come true. Growing up, Williams listened to their music. To have the opportunity to perform with renowned artists was an exciting experience for him.

“To be face to face with (Kreutzmann and Hart) and being on stage with them is one thing but being backstage and rehearsing with them in a small room, that was surreal,” Williams said.

Music has become an essential part of his life. It is a form of therapy or release for him. When someone listens to one of Williams’ songs or attends his concert, he wants the beat to take them away to a place that escapes the reality of this world.

“I think that with so much going on in the world today, my mission is to get people to forget about the outside world and to be entertained for a couple hours. I try to get people to absorb my visuals that I create through music,” Williams said.

Keller Williams spreads his love and passion for music to all those around him. With today’s technology, the music industry is open to endless possibilities and creativity. Every genre of music, artist and song is at the touch of a button.

“Play for yourself. Play the things you like. Don’t rely on music to pay your bills. Find another way to pay your bills and let music be the escape from that. Create your own scene. Set up for free in a park or a bus or get permission from a local business, without a tip jar. You’re not doing it for tips. Get some hours in, spend a little time with it before focusing on the money part,” Williams said.   

As part of the F.M. Kirby Center’s  “Live from the Chandelier Lobby” series, the live solo performance by Keller Williams is on Friday, Dec. 8. Tickets can be purchased at the Kirby Center Box Office, by phone at 570-826-1100 or online at www.kirbycenter.org. The doors open at 7:30 p.m. with a showtime of 9 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the show.

For more information on Keller Williams or to check out his music and most recent albums, Sync and Raw, visit All Eyes Media at alleyesmedia.com/clients/keller-williams/.

Keller Williams, creator of acoustic dance music, centered his music career around his unique style. Known for his custom guitar and his barefeet, Williams is bound to make an audiance bop their head to the beat.