EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Larry Keel

On Sunday, January 14, the Ardmore Music Hall will host legendary guitar slinger Larry Keel and his Experience band. Matt Thomas caught up with Mr. Keel via email and learned—among other things—what’s been on the radio in the Experience tour van and what Philly bluegrass fans should expect when the Larry Keel Experience hits town. Tickets for the show are on sale now at ardmoremusic.com, and you can enter to win a pair of tickets on our Facebook page.

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MT: What does “bluegrass music” mean to you?

LK: When I think of bluegrass, I think of the music of the people who settled the Appalachian Mountains. Through music, they told the stories of their way of life, their good times, their humor, their hardships and sorrows. Bluegrass players have also tended to be dedicated to mastering their instrument. So the level of musicianship in that genre has a really high standard, among true bluegrass appreciators.

MT: What do you look forward to the most when you come through Philly as a touring musician?

LK: The City of Brotherly Love! It’s old and classic, but hip and edgy too. I look forward to all the love and energy that Philly people bring to the shows. And I never miss having a cheese steak, of course.

MT: Your last album featured a lot of great guests. Is there anyone out there you want to collaborate with, but haven’t had the chance yet?

LK: There are too many to name! Billy Joel? Gordan Lightfoot? Tommy Emmanuel? Mark Knopfler? And many others who have passed on that I would loved to have had a chance to play music with. But I’m lucky that I am constantly meeting new, amazing players and there are so many I already know and play with but haven’t recorded with yet. The best part about it is I never know what’s gonna happen next.

MT: What album or albums are getting the most play in the tour van?

LK: New Grass Revival. Wood Brothers. Steep Canyon Rangers. And I love the late-night-drive DJ session, where I stream song after song while we ride. I mix pretty much every genre imaginable.

MT: Tell us about the band. What should fans expect from the iteration of the Experience that you are bringing to Ardmore Music Hall this month?

LK: Power trio along the lines of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, but with guitar, mandolin, and upright bass. Expect a high energy, very authentic sonic art experience. Our show covers the full spectrum of emotions, from the soothing and heart-warming to the raw, gritty and startling; old mountain sounds and fresh, innovative ideas, all of which will transport everyone into the magic of the music. Not to mention one helluva good time.

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