Pensacola, Florida
Thursday March 30th 2017

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Online Extra: Keller Williams Brings His One Man Show to Pensacola

By Brett Hutchins

Keller Williams is a jokester, in conversation and through his music. If youre around him, youre likely having a blast. He brings his solo loop-based dance party to Vinyl Music Hall this weekend. Ive seen Pensacola crowds look as if theyre standing on pins and needles through entire concerts. Thats not happening this time.

IN: For those unfamiliar with your shows, what should they expect from your solo Pensacola show?
WILLIAMS: Expect positive music with a dance beat. One song will be grounded in solo acoustic music, then the next will be a total dance groove along that fine line of electronica. Expect to hear songs you may have heard before but done in a different way. And hopefully you can see some hungry hairy people bumping into one another.

IN: You play seemingly every type of music out there from bluegrass to electronica. What would you consider your sweet spot?
WILLIAMS: I cant narrow it down to one type of music. Thats what makes it fun, but rawness and stripped-down nature of playing the solo acoustic loop-based stuff is very liberating.

IN: As a musician who dabbles in electronica, what do you make of the recent explosion of that scene?
WILLIAMS: Im a fan. What I love the most is the groove consciousness that happens at those shows. People dont have to know the specific song, but they understand the build-up and tension. When everyone is that much on the same page, its a special thing. Maybe its an opposites attract thing for me because Im very much acoustic-based, but Im most definitely a supporter.

IN: Was it a conscious decision from the get-go to be so immersed in the live aspect of the business?
WILLIAMS: Thats where it all started my love of performing and interacting with others. I havent really been about trying to sell music as far as the record goes. Its always been about the live experience. Its where my heart is. Im grateful to be able to do that for a living.

IN: Whats your mindset like going into a show? How do you typically prepare, especially when youre out there on a nightly basis?
WILLIAMS: On the night of a show, its important for me to keep my adrenaline in check and be present-minded. The fact that people are there to see me is huge and I need to respect that every time I get out there. Each show is different. A lot of time its up to the crowd. Sometimes its difficult to pinpoint where the energy of the show is, but Ive learned how to overcome and embrace things. Its an interesting dynamic between me and the crowd that plays out throughout a concert.

IN: You mentioned how youve gotten to the point where you can overcome nearly anything thrown at you. That reminds me of your set a couple years ago at the Hangout Festival when a huge storm tried to take out your set, but you stuck with it. How do you deal with things like that that are beyond your control?
WILLIAMS: There wasnt much I could do with that one. There was a single dry spot on the stage, but it happened to be behind the drum risers. We had to peel down the tarp so you could barely see my head. Where theres a will, theres a way. Maybe 100 people saw that. Its always interesting playing a set to an area thats been evacuated.

IN: The fact that youve done so many collaborations with bands across so many genres proves you have friends throughout the industry. Whats the secret in building those relationships?
WILLIAMS: Time, for one thing. You have to get yourself out there and actually blaze those paths so they can be crossed. It all starts with the love of music and like-minded people. To get to hang out with people that Ive idolized has been very surreal, but its taken a lot of hard work to get there. And when you get that opportunity, you have to treat people with the upmost respect. That and cell phones. Cell phones help a lot.

KELLER WILLIAMS
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 5
WHERE: Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox Pl.
COST: $18-$20
DETAILS: kellerwilliams.net; vinylmusichall.com