Westward Expansion: Keller Williams Plays the Chameleon Club

Keller Williams started his career as the most prolific one-man-band in music. With a looping station, a guitar case full of strange covers and a box of percussive toys that would make your elementary music teacher blush, Williams has made an artform out of going it alone, turning the maudlin reputation of the singer-songwriter on its ear.

So it came as a bit of a shock to those who know him from his live performances when Williams released Dream, a more traditional studio effort born from collaborations with his heroes from across the world of music. Tracks here feature work from diverse artists like Martin Sexton, Michael Franti and Charlie Hunter. Williams even tapped world musicians like Indian guitarist Sanjay Mishra to lend a hand.

Now Williams brings the material they created, along with his own impressive repertoire and homage material, to the Chameleon Club, the premier venue in Lancaster's burgeoning music scene.

WXPN sponsors this event, giving tacit approval to the growing rock petri dish to the west.

Williams will also be premiering songs from one of the three albums he has released this year. While he has used backing bands in the past, Live is his first attempt at fronting a band all his own.

Pulling members from friends the String Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon and the Marc Broussard band, Williams has created cuts that take on a more expansive, more musically experimental vibe than he was ever able to achieve in the past.

Along with a best-of album entitled 12, Williams also released REX, a performance from 2006 that he dubbed Grateful Grass. A collaboration between Williams, Jeff Austin of Yonder Mountain String Band and current collaborator and String Cheese Incident bass player Keith Moseley, Grateful Grass is a bluegrass tribute to the Grateful Dead. Bluegrass tributes are something Williams is familiar with, as he created Grass back in 2005 and has not forgotten the fans of the genre as his stage performances have progressed. That's why his Chameleon Club performance will contain a Grunge Grass set, a 90's rock tribute featuring Claude Auther on bass and Jay Starling on dobro.

One of the strangest and most prolific artists on the scene, Keller Williams has never settled into a musical style, instead favoring an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach that always comes out catchy and new. The performance hits the Chameleon Friday, Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. Check him out online at kellerwilliams.net.

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