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Larry Keel | Backwoods

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Bill Monroe Del McCoury Ralph Stanley

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United States - Virginia

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Country: Progressive Bluegrass Country: Americana Moods: Featuring Guitar
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by Larry Keel

Keel and his ultra progressive string band have hand-crafted original compositions that defy all ordinary expectations of what Bluegrass and Americana music has ever offered-- until now. Co-produced by creative genius Keller Williams...
Genre: Country: Progressive Bluegrass
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Faster Horses
4:02 $0.99
2. Diamond Break
3:46 $0.99
3. Bluegrass in the Backwoods
5:31 $0.99
4. Ghost Driver
3:05 $0.99
5. Bohemian Reel
1:41 $0.99
6. They
5:18 $0.99
7. Mother Nature's Son
2:54 $0.99
8. Bitten by a Snake
2:36 $0.99
9. Crocodile Man
3:23 $0.99
10. Swarmin Bees
4:22 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Connecting traditional songs of yesterday with their own original and inventive sounds of today, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge create astonishingly powerful acoustic music rich in heritage, heart and hot licks! With a style that evokes both atomic rock energy and dynamic tonal purity, Keel and his ensemble are intent upon taking their instruments and their voices to their fullest potential for emotion and amazement. While paying respect to the legacy left by the forefathers of bluegrass, Keel bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary American Mountain Music. Larry Keel & Natural Bridge includes flatpicking guitar master Larry Keel (guitar, vocals), Jenny Keel (bass fiddle, vocals), Mark Schimick (mandolin, vocals), and, Jason Flournoy (banjo, vocals).

Born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Larry Keel is a young veteran musician who has always been immersed in the traditional ways and etiquette of playing mountain music. Both Larry’s father and brother (themselves skilled and versatile acoustic musicians) influenced the younger Keel to thoroughly master the foundations of acoustic guitar (tune, timing, tone) before venturing into his own original territory. From a very young age, Larry made it his goal to honor and preserve the discipline of the Traditional Bluegrass music he knows and loves, while expressing his own ideas through acoustic music. At 18 years old Keel became a contracted musician to play Bluegrass at the Tokyo Disneyland theme park in Japan for 7 months (6 shows a day, 6 days a week). Back in the States Larry joined up with like-minded Bluegrass pickers young and old to travel the festival and fiddler’s convention circuit of the entire east coast. Keel’s long time friend and banjo player Mark Vann (Leftover Salmon) encouraged him to travel to Colorado to attend the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and compete in its prestigious guitar competition. That year he won first place, and by 1995 he and long-time Bluegrass peer Will Lee (son of Ricky Lee from Ralph Stanley’s band) led their string band Magraw Gap to victory in the Telluride Bluegrass Festival band competition. Moreover, Larry again competed in and won first place in the guitar competition at Telluride that year. In fact, the band and all its incredibly talented members won awards in the competitions in 1995.

Over the years Larry Keel has become a world-class flatpicking guitarist, and that talent has earned him legendary status with fans and the highest respect amongst his musical peers. In recent performances Larry has led bands involving such industry icons as Tony Rice, Jack Lawrence, Mike Marshall, Darol Anger, Curtis Burch (New Grass Revival), Vassar Clements, Joe Craven, Jim Lauderdale, Eddie Adcock; in addition he has played specialty sets with Darrell Scott and Sam Bush and guitar workshops along side David Grier and Norman Blake. Keel’s distinct style of flatpicking the guitar is the tool with which he creates his original brand of songwriting and his peers have taken notice. Both Del McCoury and Acoustic Syndicate have recorded Larry’s material. The Del McCoury Band recorded Larry’s ‘Mountain Song’ on their 2005 Grammy award winning release, The Company We Keep. Acoustic Syndicate recorded ‘Long Way Round’ as their title track for their 2004 release. Jenny Keel met her soon-to-be-husband, Larry, while attending a Bluegrass show in Lexington, Virginia where she has lived since 1985. For years a devoted volunteer and staff worker at various music festivals and venues in the Shenandoah Valley, Jenny has always been active in supporting the Bluegrass and Old Time music scene. Meeting Larry and his talented group of musician-friends sparked the latent ability in Jenny to play upright bass. Now she has been playing bass with her husband and virtually all of his specialty projects for over 10 years, has advanced into a player known for impeccable timing and solid, yet imaginative bass lines. She also adds much of the tenor harmonies to the band’s vocal pieces. Mark Schimick was raised in central North Carolina and frequently visited his extended family in Southwestern Virginia. Like Keel, Mark was exposed at an early age to the music of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and by listening to Bill Monroe, the Stanley Brothers and Flatt & Scruggs on the radio and in family members’ record collections, Mark became familiar with the songs and stylings of Bluegrass. Mark’s early love of this music stayed with him as he pursued formal musical training in sacred choir singing and classical piano. Later he became a drummer in a variety of contemporary music bands, and it was this penchant for percussion that led him to learn the mandolin. Mark’s approach to mandolin has rapidly advanced him to one of the most versatile and fiery pickers on the acoustic music scene. Moreover, Mark has a clear and powerful singing voice, reminiscent of the best of the first-generation, high-lonesome style Bluegrass singers Banjoist, Jason Flournoy has been a solid force in the bluegrass circuit for quite sometime. For the past 5 and half years he helped lead the Colorado jamgrass phenomenon, Shanti Groove, to major festivals and concert halls across America. Now Jason joins flatpicking legend and progressive bluegrass alchemist, Larry Keel and his band, Natural Bridge. With the addition of Flournoy, Natural Bridge has not only retained the services of an incredible banjo player, but also a seasoned songwriter. Jason penned many of Shanti Groove's instrumental songs heard both live and on their release, River's Mould. Born and raised in the Southeast, Jason attended college at Brevard College in North Carolina. It was in western NC that he got his first dose of "real" banjo picking thanks to spending time with the likes of Billy Constable and Mark Shimick, and their band at the time, Sassagrass. After a few years in Alabama performing with the Dixie Slam Mob, Jason relocated to Colorado and joined Shanti Groove, with whom he performed over 600 shows. As life tends to go in full circles, Jason crosses musical paths with Mark Shimick again as members in one of today's most important touring acoustic acts.

Larry Keel has had for a very long time a very clear vision of what he wants to do with his musical talents, and the guiding principle is this: to nurture and preserve our American musical heritage while letting it inspire Keel’s own original writing and playing. As he pays his deepest respects to the masters who invented Bluegrass, Keel has become a master himself of Bluegrass, as well as of his own music. Larry Keel is a true heir to the Bluegrass legacy, and his talents as a guitar genius, as an innovative and expressive singer-songwriter and as a bandleader place him amongst the best of the purveyors of American Mountain Music.



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