Pick, to be released July 3, 2012 on SCI Fidelity Records, is the debut collaboration of Keller Williams and The Travelinâ€™ McCourys. Pre-Orders for the album begin May 18th at www.kellermccoury.com (also www.kellerwilliams.net and www.travelinmccourys.com).
Those who pre-order Pick automatically get 2 entries into the Pick Me! sweepstakes, where one lucky person will win an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Nashville to hang with Keller, Del and The Travelinâ€™ McCourys at their just-announced 2012 New Yearâ€™s Eve extravaganza at Marathon Music Works. Pick Me! and New Yearâ€™s Eve show details available at www.kellermccoury.com
Itâ€™s only after you hear Pick that you come to the inescapable realization that this is a meeting that was predestined. Williams, the Ã¼ber-distinctive singer-songwriter/multi-
Pick, is a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its partsâ€”although the parts are rather massive on their own, to be sure. Recorded at Nashvilleâ€™s famed Butcher Shoppe studios, the albumâ€™s dozen songs (both originals and covers) fully realize Americana musicâ€™s long storytelling tradition, and the impeccable musicianship displayed on Pick captures all of the heart and heartache of the bluegrass genreâ€”and then some: Williamsâ€™ unconventional songwriting takes on even greater weight when backed by The Travelinâ€™ McCourysâ€™ emotive tones. Inspired by Kellerâ€™s fearless creativity, The Travelinâ€™ McCourysâ€™ flawless playing gains new depth.
Keller Williams with The Travelinâ€™ McCourys will perform together at select summer festivals. The list of these very special shows is included below.
â€œI can hardly believe what a blast this collaboration has been so far,â€ says Williams. â€œTo be in the presence of The Travelin’ McCourys is to be in the presence of greatness. Sometimes you’ll catch us trying not to smile when we play, just to make sure that at least some of the time the music takes precedence over the joy of playing it!â€
With decades on the bluegrass circuit under their belt, The Travelinâ€™ McCourysâ€” Rob McCoury on banjo, Ronnie McCoury on mandolin, Jason Carter on fiddle and Alan Bartram on bassâ€”approach their craft with simultaneous reverence for the bluegrass tradition (Ronnie and Rob are the sons of bluegrass icon Del McCoury) and an insatiable desire to move the music forward. Their tight rhythmic sense, jaw-dropping chops and soulful material, performed with an unshakable confidence, takes bluegrass from the safe confines of its predetermined shore into uncharted waters. Theyâ€™ve played with the Allman Brothers Band, Phish, Warren Haynes and the Lee Boysâ€”not exactly bluegrassersâ€”and are constantly looking for new ways to redefine themselves.
“We like to play traditional bluegrass music the way we do it with Dad, but we also like to be able to step into situations where we can really stretch out,â€ Ronnie told JamBase. â€œIf we need to plug in, weâ€™ll plug in. Weâ€™re open to anything.â€
That they were open to teaming with Keller Williams is no surprise. Over the course of his two-decade career, Williams has ceaselessly followed his singular muse, both in a live settingâ€”where he might accompany himself on any number of instruments and electronicsâ€”and in the studio, where heâ€™s recorded everything from reggae to rock to experimental music to childrenâ€™s songs to, of course, bluegrass. Thief, Kellerâ€™s 2010 recording with the Keels, reached number #1 on Billboardâ€™s bluegrass chart while last yearâ€™s Bass found him utilizing only that instrument throughout the album. Predictability? Not in his vocabulary.
On Pick, Keller Williamsâ€”armed this time only with acoustic guitar and a microphoneâ€”and The Travelinâ€™ McCourys shine on a dozen tracks that perfectly demonstrate their collective reach, including several new Williams and band-written originals and a handful of surprise but choice covers, including My Morning Jacketâ€™s â€œAmazed,â€ Steve Earleâ€™s â€œThe Graveyard Shiftâ€ and singer-songwriter Jessie Jâ€™s â€œPrice Tag.â€ The albumâ€™s finale, Williamsâ€™ â€œBumper Sticker,â€ benefits from a special guest appearance by the man himself, the 73-year-old legend Del McCoury. While the familiar elements of both Kellerâ€™s and the McCourysâ€™ music are all in place, the sound that emerges from the troupe collectively takes all of the participants into fresh musical places, where tunefulness meets mystery, virtuosity, daring and a blast of a good time.
Pick is about good pickinâ€™, but itâ€™s about something more: what transpires when two seemingly disparate musical entities find that they have something special to say when they join forces. Pick will surely go down as one of the top picks of 2012 by many an awestruck fan and discriminating critic.
Keller Williams and The Travelinâ€™ Mccourys special summer festival stops:
Friday, May 18 — Dominion Riverrock at Brown’s Island Richmond VA
Saturday, May 26 –Â DelFest Cumberland MD (with special Keller Solo Set)
Friday, June 1 — Mountain Jam Hunter NY
Saturday, June 2 –Â Wakarusa Ozark AR
Thursday, June 28 –Â Electric Forest Rothbury MI
Tuesday, July 3 — Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua Washburn WI
Friday, July 6 — Deadwood Mountain Grand Deadwood SD
Friday, August 17 — The River Roots Live Music Festival Davenport, IA
Friday, September 14 –Â Jomeokee Arts and Music Festival Pinnacle, NCÂ
Monday, December 31 — Marathon Music Works Nashville, TN
New Yearâ€™s Eve extravaganza with sets by Del McCoury Band,
Keller Williams (solo), and Keller Williams with The Travelinâ€™ McCourys