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Keel over at the Saloon



Article Published: Oct. 27, 2011 | Modified: Nov. 4, 2011
Keel over at the Saloon

Larry Keel and Natural Bridge Thursday, Nov. 3, at the Boone Saloon, located at 489 W. King St. in downtown Boone.
Photos by Rob Moore



Music comes naturally to Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, just like the good times.

And it’s intentional.

“That’s our goal,” Keel’s wife and Natural Bridge bassist Jenny Keel said. “We go out any time, whether we’re stepping into a little bar on a tiny little stage … or the large festival scene. But we love other things besides traveling and performing.”

Things like impromptu pickin’ parties at their Lexington, Va., home.

“The way to make (performing) always fresh and exciting … is to just keep it balanced with the other things we love – home, family and tonight is a great example,” Jenny Keel said last Friday. “Our county is just so full of great pickers that … if everyone’s available, we can just have a killer jam in our house, eat some deer meat, fry some fish, go into the wee hours. We’re psyched.”

Venison and fish frying aside, fans can expect an into-the-wee-hours good time Thursday, Nov. 3, when Larry Keel and Natural Bridge return to the Boone Saloon in downtown Boone, bringing their ever unique blend of bluegrass, country, roots and rock.

“It’s a great town,” Jenny Keel said of Boone, “and you’ve got great musicians all around. It’s the birthplace of so many of our cherished relationships – that’s where we met Acoustic Syndicate, Snake Oil Medicine Show – it’s a cast of characters that was launched into our world, right in that town, right in Boone.”

With an upcoming new album on deck, fans can expect a blend of new and favorite tunes.

“But the goal, each time, is to just connect and have fun,” Keel said. “Everyone takes the ride together. Our material is a whole lot of fun, rollicking numbers, but we’re not scared to go deep and dark … it’s all part of what’s brewing inside every one of us. That’s what’s great about this ensemble … the four of us are passionate about the music, we serve the music together … and just give it our all.”

She’s referring to mandolin player Mark Schimick, banjo player Will Lee and, of course, her husband, Larry.

“You just never know what Larry’s going to cook up,” she said, “and even I can’t say. But it’s fun, that just makes it fresh and fun and lively for us every time, and it tends to work, our mission to connect with the audience.”

It’s been working all summer, as the Keels and Natural Bridge toured the festival circuit.

“We had an awesome summer together as a band, hitting some really great events across the country and just having fun along the way, because we really don’t try to kill ourselves in what we do,” Keel said. “We hook up with so many bands we admire, respect and love, who are so talented.”

Regular collaborations include Keller Williams, as demonstrated on Keller and the Keels’ hit album, “Thief,” Danny Barnes, Yonder Mountain String Band’s Adam Aijala, Toubab Krewe and the Infamous Stringdusters.

“It gives us something fresh to look forward to every time, all these collaborations,” Keel said.
“There’s so much good music in the South – the sky’s the limit, and we’re up for all of it.”

Fans who are up for it can see Larry Keel and Natural Bridge Thursday, Nov. 3, at the Boone Saloon, located at 489 W. King St. in downtown Boone. The show, open to those 21 and up, has a $12 cover and starts at 10 p.m.

For more information on Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, visit http://www.larrykeel.com.

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