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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label Every Soul's A Star. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Every Soul's A Star. Show all posts

Friday, December 7, 2018

Catfood Records artist: Dave Keller - Every Soul's A Star - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Every Soul's A Star, from Dave Keller and it's a solid R&B entry. Opening with Don't Let Them Take Your Joy, a poppy R&B track, Dave Keller leads a super band on vocal and guitar with excellent backing from Bob Trenchard on bass, Johnny McGhee on guitar, Dan Ferguson on keys, Richy Puga on drums, Mike Middleton on trumpet and Nick Flood on sax. Solid opener. On title track, Every Soul's A Star, a warm horn intro leads the way for Keller's soulful vocals and nice backing vocals by Janelle Thompson and Shakara Weston. Digging down into the funk, Ronnie Shannon's Baby, I Love You has a great sound. I really love Aretha's version of this, but I really like this one as well with a slower, more powerful bottom and bluesy guitar riffs. Very cool. Another solid R&B track, Freedom Is Ours is another solid vocal track which benefits nicely from the horn work of Middleton and Flood. Up-tempo, It's All In Your Eyes, has a great melody with just the right organ underpinning supporting super vocals and effortless guitar soloing by Keller. Soul track, When Are You Gonna Cry is one of my release favorites with a particularly memorable melody, strong vocals by Keller and nicely phrased guitar riffs and horn punctuation punching the track up. Wrapping the release is Ain't Giving In with a fusion of funk and R&B with a strong melody and balanced vocals and horns, with snappy percussion. Very nice. 

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Monday, September 10, 2018

"Every Soul's a Star" on New Dave Keller CD, Due from Catfood Records on October 19

Every Soul’s a Star on New Dave Keller CD, Due from Catfood Records on October 19

Label Debut CD Produced by Grammy-Winner

Jim Gaines

EL PASO, TX – Catfood Records announces the October 19 release of Every Soul’s a Star, the label debut from acclaimed soul/blues singer and guitarist Dave Keller. Produced by Grammy-winner Jim Gaines (Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Luther Allison) and recorded at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas, Every Soul’s a Star showcases 10 original songs, plus a scintillating cover of the Aretha Franklin classic, “Baby, I Love You.”

Keller’s soulful vocals are beautifully supported by The Rays, which includes not only legendary Motown guitarist Johnny McGee, but also Bob Trenchard – bass; Dan Ferguson - Hammond B3, Wurlitzer, keyboards; Richy Puga – drums; Mike Middleton – trumpet; Nick Flood - tenor and baritone sax, plus the heavenly voices of Janelle Thompson and Shakara Weston - background vocals; and Christopher Serrano – percussion.

Catfood label head Bob Trenchard calls Dave Keller, “The most-talented songwriter I've ever worked with,” and it was he who suggested Jim Gaines to produce the new project.

“This record, for me, is about honoring the star in each person,” Dave Keller says. “The songs are about both love and heartbreak, of course, but also speak about the beauty in each of us, as unique individuals and as people standing up together. This record feels like my strongest yet. I felt more at ease singing than I've ever felt in the studio. That comfort helped me sing more dynamically than I've ever sung before on record.”

Every Soul’s a Star is also the first time Keller had the chance to work with the Catfood Records “house band,” The Rays, comprised of all superb musicians with a boatload of experience backing up many of the label’s artists on record, including Blues Music Award-winner Johnny Rawls.

“What really impressed me about The Rays was how much heart they put into this record,” Keller declares. “They've played on tons of records, and they could easily have just done it as a paint-by-numbers affair. I love how everyone put so much of themselves into the record. I could tell that they really dug the songs, and really cared about doing them justice. I love how you can hear all their individual ideas on the record, and feel their personalities, their souls, and yet everything is in service to the songs.

“It was a special treat working with Johnny McGhee, who has played guitar on countless great soul albums. He started out as a kid – only 12 years old – touring with The Five Stairsteps, and ended up in the band LTD. To each of my songs, Johnny brought the coolest, most beautiful little soul licks. He has an amazing ability to find just the right licks and riffs that pull the song together into something perfect.”

Keller is equally effusive in his praise of producer Jim Gaines. “Jim Gaines is a magician. He really listened to my songs, really got into the meaning of the lyrics, and was able to help me and the band bring them alive with the most heart possible. He's an expert at making songs really shine. I felt blessed to get to work with him.”

Keller also has a special place in his heart for Johnny Rawls, who introduced him to Catfood Records owner and bassist Bob Trenchard about five years ago at the Blues Music Awards. “Bob and I had a conversation then about making a record together, but it took ‘til now for the time to be just right,” he recalls. “As my friend the late deep soul singer Mighty Sam McClain used to say, ‘It may not come when you want it, but it always comes right on time.’”

Recording in Texas was a new cultural experience for Keller, a native New Englander. “Working at Sonic Ranch was really fun. I'd never been to west Texas, so it was a real adventure for me. From the kindness of the ladies who made us breakfast and lunch every day, to the heat – 105 degrees the day I arrived -- to the giant Tarantula Hawks (a kind of wasp) that hovered in the bushes outside the studio. All the little details inspired me and energized me.”

About Dave Keller

Dave Keller is an award-winning, triple-threat: an outstanding singer, an intense guitarist and a talented songwriter. Fueled by his love of deep Southern soul and blues, his performances ring out with passion, integrity, and an ability to break down the barriers between performer and audience.

Ever since renowned guitarist Ronnie Earl chose Dave Keller to sing on his album Living In The Light, Keller's star has been on the rise. In just a few short years, Keller has been nominated for a Blues Music Award for Best Soul/Blues Album, won the International Blues Challenge Best Self-Released CD Award, and been chosen for Downbeat's Best Recordings of the Year.

A bit of a late bloomer, Keller grew up in Massachusetts, loving music, but not picking up guitar until age 16, and not singing in his first band until age 20. But blessed with mentors including deep soul singer Mighty Sam McClain, mystical soul guitarist Robert Ward, acoustic blues master Paul Rishell and soul/blues man Johnny Rawls, Keller made up for lost time.

Relocating to icy Vermont in 1993, Keller found fertile ground to grow his audience, and has become a household name there. Famous for his live-wire shows, Keller can often be found fifty feet out in the crowd, teasing fiery licks from his trusty Stratocaster and singing off-mike as the audience sings along.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Keller has been expanding his base beyond New England these past few years, performing at some of the biggest festivals in the East, including the North Atlantic Blues Festival, the PA Blues Fest, and the Discover Jazz Festival. He has also performed at the Blues Music Awards ceremony twice, accompanying Ronnie Earl, and Johnny Rawls (with whom Keller frequently tours).