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 twice 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.
His 2018 CD, Every Soul’s a Star, released on esteemed soul/blues label Catfood Records, was produced by multiple-Grammy-winning legend Jim Gaines (Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Steve Miller, Tower of Power, Luther Allison, etc.). Label head Bob Trenchard, who met Keller through their mutual friend Johnny Rawls, says, “Dave is one of the best songwriters I’ve ever been around.” And Gaines, the man responsible for some of the most revered albums in modern music, says, “I love Dave’s vocals. Dave has a remarkable voice,” says Gaines.
Now, for the first time ever, Dave Keller has released a live album: Live At The Killer Guitar Thriller! (02/01/20, Tastee-Tone Records). With this thrilling set of originals and fan favorites, Keller shows why he is considered one of the finest blues and soul musicians of his generation.
100% raw. Recorded live to one stereo microphone, placed 20 feet out in the crowd, to capture the feeling of being there. The band stripped down to just the essentials: guitar, bass and drums.
And what a show it was! Keller and company headlined the Killer Guitar Thriller, an afternoon of guitar-driven blues and soul put on by the Bucks County Blues Society. The venue – an old school VFW hall on the outskirts of Philadelphia – was filled with diehard blues and soul fans. You can hear them hollering and screaming, giving the band plenty of energy to feed off of.
The album serves as an excellent introduction to Keller’s music, including four songs from Every Soul’s a Star (2018), and a pair each from Right Back Atcha (2016) , Soul Changes (2013), and Where I’m Coming From (2012). Plus, for diehard fans, there are five songs which Keller has never recorded before: four heavy blues (Albert King, Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Magic Sam), and a zydeco romp (Clifton Chenier).
Keller has performed at the largest blues festivals in the Northeast (North Atlantic Blues Fest – 3x, Discover Jazz Fest – 7x, PA Blues Fest), and many of the finest blues clubs in the U.S., including B.B. King’s in Memphis, and Biscuits and Blues in San Francisco. Based in Vermont, Keller’s 2020 tours include the Southeastern U.S. (March 2020), Europe (April 2020), and the Midwest (June 2020).
In addition to his own recordings, Keller has recorded and co-written with legendary guitarist Ronnie Earl (2010’s BMA-nominated Living In The Light). He tours regularly with Mississippi soul/blues master Johnny Rawls. Mentored by the late deep soul singer, Mighty Sam McClain, Keller continues to prove McClain’s words: “He’s for REAL!!”
Other well-regarded performers have invited him onstage, including John Nemeth, John Primer, Sugaray Rayford, Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter, Southern Avenue, Alexis P. Suter, the late Big Jack Johnson, and many others.
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, singing off-mike as the audience sings along.
2017 Nominee Blues Blast Music Awards
Best Soul/Blues CD of the Year, Music Magazine Awards
2017 Nominee Best Blues Album of the Year
Downbeat Magazine Reader’s Awards
2014 Nominee Blues Music Award
Best Soul Blues Album of the Year, Soul Changes
2012 Winner of the Granite State Blues Challenge
Granite State Blues Challenge
2016 Right Back Atcha
2014 Soul Changes
2011 Where I’m Coming From
2009 Living in the Light
2009 Play for Love
2001 Down at the Aloha
1993 Deep Down in My Soul
“All night, gut bucket, roadhouse soul that doesn’t stop just because the sun is coming up.” –Midwest Record
“Stunning.” –Michael Kinsman, Blues Revue
“His soul can send chills right through you.” — Jim Hynes, Elmore Magazine
“It’s one of the best records I’ve ever heard.” — Ronnie Earl, legendary blues guitarist
“The Playlist — one of 10 intriguing tracks found in the week’s listening: ’17 Years’, Dave Keller – Recorded with vets from Hi and Stax, this Keller (co-written) tune evokes soul’s ’60s heyday.” — Jerry Shriver, USA TODAY
“Every song on here is a gem.” — Richie, WFOS, Chesapeake, VA
“#1 with a bullet! “17 Years” – Most requested song of the week.” — Richard Carr, CKIA, Quebec City, QC, CANADA
4 out of 5 stars — Julien Crue, Soul Bag, Paris, FRANCE
“For lovers of soul music, this is an absolute must.” — Freddy Celis, Rootstime, BELGIUM
“Soul Changes is, hands down, my favorite record of this year. Son of a gun, you’ve got pure soul running through your veins. This record swoops, hollers, makes me cry, makes me smile, and simply moves me.” — Brett Fleming, WEVL, Memphis, TN
“Arguably, this backing band represents the greatest collection of soul musicians alive today. “17 Years” is tormented, tortured soul at its best. The strength of this CD will have me re-visiting past Keller albums to see what I’ve been missing.” — Bill Mitchell, Blues Bytes
“A superb songwriter and storyteller… Over the years I have heard them all, from the giants to the legends and Dave Keller has what it takes to join their ranks. He is, without question, the real deal, pouring it out with heart, soul and a power that emanates from the deepest regions of the heart. This is the finest soul I’ve heard since the early days. Give him a listen…you won’t be disappointed.” — Bill Wilson, Billtown Blues
“…devastatingly powerful…Soul Changes proves again that Keller is a real deal soul man and tasteful guitarist.” — Jim Hynes, Elmore Magazine
“His honeyed-and-whiskeyed voice makes him sound like a man who has known hurt and found redemption… he inhabits the songs more than just sings them…Keller evokes the period when soul stood for something real, unlike the polished confections of pop.” — Steve Horowitz, PopMatters