Smile Politely

Keller Williams puts the funk back into funky, bluegrass style

If you didn’t make it out to see Keller Williams and More Than A Little, then you should be asking yourself one simple question: Why the funk not?

Keller Williams, also known to many as the one-man jam band has taken his eccentric sound to a new level in his What the Funk Tour this year. Ladies and Gentleman, this is something we have never heard from the man who has done it all, and now he has added funk to his long list of genre mixes.

When I say long list of genres: I’m not kidding. He’s one of those artists that you can’t quite put your finger on because he’s good at every style of music he tries out. In the past four years, he has recorded a Grateful Dead tribute project (Keys), which he played exclusively on the piano, a bluegrass set with the Travelin’ McCourys (Pick) and a children’s record (Kids).

An Evening with Keller Williams and More Than A Little What the Funk Tour 2014 was located at the Canopy Club last night. It was made up of two unique parts, consisting of a solo performance by K-Dub and then More Than A Little joined him on stage in the second part of the show. More Than A Little consists of Williams on vocals and guitar, EJ Shaw on bass, Gerard Johnson on keyboard and Toby Fairchild on drums. The beautiful and sultry backup vocals are Lazenby Jackson and Sugah Davis.

The show consisted of crowd favorites (and my own personal favorites) like: “Hollywood Freaks”, “Victory Song”, “Doobie in My Pocket”, “Apparation”, “Let’s Jam”, “I Feel Love”, “B.I.T.C.H” and “More Than A Little”.

From the get-go of “Apparation”, the crowd knew what to expect. Strange, sometimes offbeat sounds that combine to make this beautiful harmony is the best way to describe the music in its entirety. Watching K-Dub on stage is like watching a rare unicorn perform a magnificent jump over a rainbow, except that doesn’t even come close to what he can create.

Apparation is a little more electronic sounding then some people may like, but I for one am a huge fan of that sound. It has a great upbeat rhythm and the combination of drums and K-Dub’s unique voice create something interesting enough to be introspective and make you stop and listen to the lyrics for a moment. This song is so unlike what he ended up playing later on, but in a very good way.

After intermission, Keller Williams and More Than A Little came on stage. The spotlight was definitely centered on K-Dub and his two beautiful backup vocalists. K-Dub had changed out of his comfortable looking khakis and turned instantly stylish in his grey suit and tie ensemble. One of the ladies wore a tight-fitting leather dress, while the other had on a curve-hugging blue and black polka dot dress. What really impressed me was K-Dub’s guitar, which he had switched to a bright, flashy red with the words Impeach Bush in between the strings and rifts. Everything from the clothes to the sounds produced the beginning to a funky evening full of upbeat dancing, high frequency sounds, and perfect harmony and of course beat boxing.

The moment that I heard “I Feel Love” the rest of the room seemed to unite as one. Everyone stopped caring about looking like fools dancing and they just danced. The beginning of the song talks about having a disco moment, and I definitely felt it. The high-pitch keyboard sounds, the soft repetitive drum beats and groovy background vocals probably helped with transporting me back to that decade. Plus, Sugah Davis and Lazenby Jackson were rocking some amazing Afros that gave the crowd that disco sensation we all wanted to feel.

“More Than A Little” is the title song from the album and it’s easy to see why. The beginning is a little ominous with the piano producing tones that speed up and slow down enough to make your mind feel a little confused, and the off-tone sound even works for it in some odd way. It’s definitely a funky sound that only K-Dub and More Than A Little could pull off to make it sound the way it does. 

One of the greatest things about this show is the complete versatility of it. I talked to a few people after the show who said that they had only come to see the songs they knew off of K-Dub’s solo albums and didn’t know what to expect from the What the Funk Tour 2014. They were not disappointed by this new genre that K-Dub’s has taken on.

If you’ve never heard anything from K-Dub, he recommends that you start out with his album entitled 12, the twelfth-album of his career it features his top hits and it’s a great starting point. He also recommends Dance as another favorite because of its high-energy EDM style.

I can’t wait to see what else K-Dub has in store for the coming years because he has created something truly exceptional with his unique voice and talent with sound combinations of different instruments. Anyone could listen to him and find something to love and jam out to.

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All photos by Wes Pundt.

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