Indiana Daily Student

Guitar virtuoso to rock Bluebird

The British punk rock movement of the '70s inspired the "DIY" ethic ' do it yourself. \nThe thinking was democratic: that anyone could buy an instrument, learn a few basic chords and start a band. But DIY has not killed virtuosity on the guitar. \nKeller Williams is a living testament to that.\nWilliams, who often opens for and collaborates with the psychedelic bluegrass band The String Cheese Incident, will play at 10 p.m. Monday at the Bluebird, 216 N. Walnut St.\nThe Virginia native started playing guitar at the age of three, later taking to the fraternity and college bar circuit. Touring brought him to Colorado, where he now resides when not on the road. He met up with The String Cheese Incident in the Rocky Mountain state, propelling him into prominence among psychedelic bluegrass fans.\nBut Williams isn't just another incarnation of Crosby, Stills & Nash. His 27-year-old love affair with the guitar has paid off, making him an accomplished musician as fluid and skilled with intricate pieces as Jimmy Page. He plays a 12-string acoustic guitar minus both E strings, having reached that configuration when he wanted to prevent the tension of the strings from snapping the bridge of the instrument. \nWhile he is sometimes accompanied by The String Cheese Incident on his albums, Williams is largely a solo artist in every sense of the word. He has taped background loops on bass and the grand piano for his live performances. And Williams also makes use of what he calls the "mouth flugel," a simulation of a big band horn sound he produces with only his mouth.\nWilliams' drum beats are synthesized, but he takes care of everything else himself. And his act has brought him some street credit ' the alternative weekly The Las Vegas Weekly ranked his last album Breath the top hippie album of 1999. Williams ended up even higher on the list than the Grateful Dead avatar Phish.\nAnd some would say that speaks volumes.

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