by Kelly McCartney (@theKELword) for FolkAlley.com
Not that many artists get to album number 15 in their career. With Experienced (due out February 26), flatpicking phenom Larry Keel hits that milestone… and he does so with more than a little help from his friends. Though Keel and bandmate Will Lee wrote the seven songs, they turned to a bevy of guest players to fill out the sound — Sam Bush, Del McCoury, Peter Rowan, Keller Williams, Jason Carter (The Del McCoury Band), Mike Guggino (Steep Canyon Rangers), and Anders Beck (Greensky Bluegrass).
“Will and I both had some good, original tunes on deck that we were ready to record, so that was simply the launch point of this particular album,” Keel explains. “It’s just so exciting and dream-come-true to me that I was able to get my friends/heroes together to lend their musical talents to this project. My core band, the Experience, had already polished all these tunes, but once we got these ultra-special guests involved, we were able to see the songs come to even greater fruition.”
One of those songs, “Fill ’em Up Again,” found its inspiration in two tried-and-true bluegrass tropes: music and moonshine. And it reflects the free spirit that comes when the two mix and mingle. “This tune by Will is roughly based on a regular pickin’ party he and I used to go to up in the mountains of Virginia, where the moonshine always flowed like a never-ending river,” Keel says. “Of course, I can’t reveal the name and location of this private hillbilly country club oasis, but suffice it to say, it was a wonderful group of good-time, $#!+-talkin’ fellas who regularly met there when the wives gave them the ‘hall pass’ to do their thing at the camp. And the host had an amazing talent for producing top-quality shine, in a variety of tasty flavors (or just clear) and in abundant supply. If that’s not something fun to write and sing about, I don’t know what is.”