Williams ‘loops’ through Steamboat
Steamboat Springs — Known to many as the “Loop Guru,” Keller Williams uses his 12-string acoustic guitar with only 10 strings to blend a rhythmic beat with a technical expertise that loops these talents into one man and one sound.
After recording his latest album, “Loop,” during three recent shows in the Pacific Northwest, Williams is returning to Steamboat to promote the CD at The Cellar Lounge Wednesday.
With Williams’ newest CD, he uses the effective device known as the “jam-man,” allowing him to loop sounds around each other playing similar jams, but adding an intense rhythm and melody that the ear perceives as different.
In an article for Relix, Lee Abraham reported that Williams detailed his looping technique in these words.
“You set the switches to where they need to go. You hit the button, you play something in time, and then at the right time, you hit the button again, and it ‘loops.’ Everything that you just played in that time frame plays again, over and over and over, until you clear it. Then you hit the same button to layer on top of that,” Williams said.
Although the process sounds tedious, Williams said in the article that it just takes some practice.
Headlining more than 200 shows a year, Williams’ list of partnered performers grows longer with each year. Phil Lesh and Friends, String Cheese Incident who sang backup for his 1999 CD “Breathe” Ani DiFranco, David Grisman and Colonel Bruce Hampton all have had the astounding opportunity to jam with the long-haired, scruffy-faced Williams.
Playing in frat parties before advancing to the college bar scene along the southeast coast, Williams left his native stomping grounds of Virginia for an uncomfortable, yet rewarding, life on the road.
Williams lured String Cheese to do backup for his fourth CD after meeting the group in Steamboat when he lived here from ’95 to ’97. After Maceo Parker played his gig, Williams played in a different bar immediately after.
Williams asked String Cheese to sit in at his show. By the end of the second set, all were on stage jamming. But Williams is just a one-man show.
Williams influences range from songwriting styles to onstage performances and range with artists such as Ani DiFranco and Bobby McFerrin.
Williams’ discrography includes: “Freek” in 1994, “Buzz” in 1996, “Spun” in 1998, “Breathe” in 1999 with String Cheese Incident and, finally, “Loop” in 2000.
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