History
Larry Keel Timeline History
1968 born in Manassas, VA
1975 begins to seriously play guitar (taught by older brother, Gary, and father James)
1976-1985 played in numerous semi-professional situations including bluegrass and fiddlers conventions, barbeques, community events, social organizations, etc..
1986 was hired as a contracted musician for Disney Corporation, Tokyo Disneyland for 1 year
1989 meets bluegrass musicians John Flower and Mark Vann in Fauquier County, VA and begins to explore progressive string music in their band, “Farmer’s Trust”
1990 Mark Vann moves to Telluride, CO to join ultra progressive electric Bluegrass band, Leftover Salmon
1990 Larry and long-time musical friend Will Lee (son of guitar legend Ricky Lee from Ralph Stanley’s band in the 1970’s) start progressive string band “Magraw Gap”
1990-1993 Magraw Gap travels throughout the Shenandoah Valley competing in Bluegrass Band competitions and wins first place at several festivals
1993 Larry travels to Telluride Bluegrass Festival and enters in and wins first place in the guitar competition
1994 Magraw Gap begins to tour regularly and plans first studio CD recording
1995 Magraw Gap wins band competition at Telluride Bluegrass Festival- Larry also enters guitar competition and wins first place again
1996 Keller Williams records CD “Buzz” with Magraw Gap as supporting musicians
1996 Magraw Gap releases their self-produced, self-titled CD
1996 (Sept.) Larry splits from Magraw Gap and starts “The Larry Keel Experience”
1997 L.K.E. releases “Miles & Miles” CD with some 20 special guests
1998 L.K.E. releases “The Sound”- all original material composed by Larry Keel
1998 Larry meets Curtis Burch, recent Grammy Award-winner for “The Great Dobro Sessions” produced by Jerry Douglas and Tut Taylor
2000 L.K.E. releases “The Larry Keel Experience” with Will Lee and Jason Krekel
2001 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine releases their “Best of 2001” CD including Larry Keel’s original instrumental, “Jerry’s Farewell”
2002 L.K.E. releases “Larry Keel, Curtis Burch & the Experience” with Billy Constable
2002 L.K.E. plays numerous shows with legends Vassar Clements and Tony Rice, in particular at Suwannee Spring Fest and Merle Fest- to standing ovations every show
2002 (April) Flatpicking Guitar Magazine releases their “Doc Fest” CD, a tribute to guitar legend Doc Watson- Larry records “Matty Groves” in a duet with cellist Rashad Egleston
2002 (July) Release of the Big Daddy Bluegrass Band’s self-titled, studio-recorded CD (the band/project led by Acoustic Syndicate’s Steve McMurry and including Curtis Burch, Billy Constable, Larry Keel and Jenny Keel)
2003 (Jan-March) Keel hones his skills as a solo performer and featured guest guitar player, sharing bills in major venues to sold-out crowds with bands Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon and Acoustic Syndicate
2003 (spring-fall) Played major Bluegrass and Americana festivals coast-to-coast, involving 2 separate month-long tours to the central and Pacific Northwest regions
2003 (fall) Flatpicking Guitar Magazine releases “Hot and Spicy” CD, a guitar compilation project including a duet performance by Wyatt Rice and Larry Keel
2004 (January) Keel releases “Journey” CD, recorded at his home in Natural Bridge, VA… includes 8 original compositions and 6 tracks reflecting his connection to Southern Roots Music. Guest artists include David VanDeventer, Danny Knicely, Will Lee, Gary Ruley, John Flower, Robert Mabe, Slinky Cobblestone, Morgan Morrison
2004 (spring) Keel appears on the cover of “Flatpicking Guitar Magazine” for their May/June issue, with a 5-page feature article and included therein.
2004 (spring) History is made at that year’s Merle Watson Memorial Festival when Film Director Ryan Gielan is invited to show his full-length film “Larry Keel: Beautiful Thing” as a featured performance at the festival; until that showing, Merle Fest had never before used film as a performance medium at the event.
2004 (spring) The “BlueBrass” CD project is released, featuring Larry and Jenny Keel and members of The Rebirth Brass Band, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, members of Acoustic Syndicate, Wild Magnolia’s Big Chief Boudreaux, Jason Krekel, Woody Woods and others.
2004 (summer) Keel realizes a life-long dream with the release of the “Keel Brothers” CD project, featuring the duet guitar team of Larry and his older brother Gary (who taught his 7-year old sibling to play guitar, and who bought him his first guitar).
2005 (January) Keel embarks on his new journey and new band, “Larry Keel and Natural Bridge”.
2005
(Early Spring)
Keel launches red-hot Bluegrass band “Natural Bridge” and releases their ultra energized traditional CD recording.
2005
(Late Spring)
Keel and brother Gary release the 2nd volume of their “Keel Brothers” guitar album series in late Spring.
2005 (Fall) Keel’s hit single Mountain Song is featured on Del McCoury Band’s album, “The Company We Keep.”
2006 (Jan) Keller and The Keels release “Grass” featuring Keller Williams, Larry Keel, and Jenny Keel.
2006 (Feb) Del McCoury Band wins a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album of 2005 for “The Company We Keep” which features Keel’s Mountain Song.
2007 Keel and Natural Bridge tour continuously across America, and abroad, playing major festivals and venues.
2008 Keel and Natural Bridge tour, collaborate with world-class musicians across the country: Tony Rice, Keller Williams, Fred Tackett, Paul Barerre, Hot Tuna, Yonder Mt. String Band, Davisson Brothers Band, etc.. gaining larger audiences everywhere. The band finalizes work on their latest CD recording with Jeff Covert at legendary Wally Cleaver Studio in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
2009 Larry Keel and Natural Bridge release long-awaited CD “BACKWOODS” , co-produced by Keller Williams and mastered by Bill Wolf. Rave reviews follow, in major music publications.  Almost entirely original, the album is considered one of the most powerful, fresh and innovative projects ever to be released in acoustic music.
2009 (winter) Keel’s music involved in documentary film and to promote environmental protection in the Southern Appalachian Mountains,
2009 (spring) Keel hosts guitar instruction and bass fishing techniques seminar/camp in south Georgia. So successful, it’s sure to become the first of many “Bass and Grass” events that Keel will promote.
2009 (summer) Keel debut’s in his first acting role, in an independent film, ‘John Lee: The Man They Could Not Hang’ , playing a jail warden in late 19th century England.
2009 (fall) Keel and Natural Bridge feature the great Tony Rice in a series of short tours across the country.
2009 (fall) Keel continues to develop his flatpicking guitar instruction programs, hosting a 2nd Bass and Grass event in Georgia, and conducting 3 days of teaching at the famed ‘Fur Peace Ranch’-  Jorma Kaukonen Guitar Camp in Ohio
2009 (winter) Keel joins singer and flatpicking guitar virtuoso Adam Aijala, from Yonder Mountain String Band on a whirlwind tour of Washington, Oregon and Northern California-  a dynamic duo show that took the west coast by storm!
2010 Larry and Jenny Keel release second album with Keller Williams, as Keller and the Keels. “Thief” went #1 on Billboard Charts for several weeks in a row, and the act tours major Bluegrass, Jamband and Americana festivals as well as major theaters and music halls, nationwide: (Del Fest, Telluride, Targhee, Hardly Strictly, etc.)Keel’s band “Natural Bridge” features Tony Rice at a sold out show in Charlottesville, VA

Keel’s Fishin and Pickin event concept hosts the 3rd ‘Bass and Grass’ workshop weekend in Perry, GA. More participants, more instructors each time.

2011 Keller and the Keels tour Colorado for a week. Ending in Boulder CO with a sold-out appearance at nationally syndicated radio show, E-Town.Keel featured in 10th Anniversary celebration show for Steep Canyon Rangers band, Asheville NC

Adds a new location for Fishin and Pickin event concept: Trout and Tunes held at Elk River Inn, Snowshoe WV.

Appears in a variety of collaborations at festivals and concerts across the country, including Keller and the Keels, Keel Brothers, Del McCoury Band, Railroad Earth, etc

4th Bass and Grass workshop weekend in Perry GA.. gaining more popularity

2012 Keller and the Keels perform on Jam Cruise #10 in the Caribbean. The Keels conduct workshops with members of Greensky Bluegrass and Railroad Earth bands.The tune “Sound Check”, written by Will Lee and performed by Larry Keel Experience, featured on Confluence Films movie “Connect”.

Larry Keel and Natural Bridge release album “Classic”, featuring original music by Larry Keel, Will Lee, Charles Humphries (Steep Canyon Rangers).  Critics, DJ’s, promoters, media and fans give it rave reviews. Tops many independent radio charts, Relix Magazine  and Country Music Television’s “The Edge” charts.

Larry appears as featured guitar player for Yonder Mountain String Band to sold out show.

Another Fishin and Pickin event, the 2nd Trout and Tunes at Snowshoe- participants coming from 7 different states to enjoy the all-inclusive getaway weekend with sporting activities, informational talks, music and fly fishing instruction and concerts.

Larry Keel and Natural Band tour nationwide, promoting their album “Classic”.. major festivals and concert venues around the country. Standing ovations everywhere.

2013 Larry Keel and Natural Bridge perform on Steep Canyon Ranger’s “Mountain Song at Sea” cruise in the Bahamas.Larry and Jenny Keel collaborate with Jeff Austin (Yonder Mountain String Band) and Danny Barnes on tours throughout the country, including 2 stops along the Mumford and Sons ‘Gentlemen of the Road’ tour in OH and OK. The band appears as “Jeff Austin and the Here and Now”

Keller and the Keels appear at the first Lockn’ Fest, as the opening act of America’s newest premier Jam-Rock festival.

Keel’s tune “Fishin Reel’ featured as sound track to the Alaskan pike-fishing segment in Confluence Films movie, “Waypoints”

Bass and Grass #6 in Perry GA continues to grow and gain more participants from all over the country.

Keel brings his power trio (Keel, wife Jenny and Will Lee) to Alaska to play festival and club shows to promote salmon habitat protection. Keel duo (Larry and Jenny) appear as the opening act at String Cheese Incident’s ‘Hullaween’ festival in Live Oak, FL

2014 The Keels start the year off with a bang, performing at Willy Nelson’s legendary “Charley’s Saloon” on Maui, Paia HI to a sold out crowd.Keel puts band “Natural Bridge” on hiatus and returns to his “Larry Keel Experience” concept, with a core trio featuring Jenny Keel on bass and vocals, and Will Lee on banjo, vocals and prolific song-writing. The trio begins experimenting with a variety of sound effects pedals for their instruments, enhancing Keel’s music with all new sonic interest.

LKE tours up and down the entire east coast, the south and the midwest for late winter into spring.

The Keels perform periodically with Keller Williams.

The Keels collaborate once more with Jeff Austin (formerly of Yonder Mountain String Band) and Danny Barnes on a tour throughout the upper mid-west. The band appears as “Jeff Austin and the Here and Now” to excellent reviews.

Keel develops a complete showcase of the music of the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia with his act “Larry Does Jerry”. Larry’s affinity for this music is natural and genuine, and it has instant appeal at the events where he presents Larry Does Jerry: Aiken Bluegrass Fest, Not Fade Away Fest, The Ville.

Throughout the spring and summer seasons, LKE makes appearances at top festivals around the country including: Merle Fest, Aiken Fest, Ace River Mountain Music Fest, Appalachian Uprising, Red Wing Roots, Keystone Bluegrass Fest, Not Fade Away Fest, Watermelon Park Fest, to name a few.. and at every site, Keel plays to bigger and more and more enthusiastic crowds.

The Keels appear again at this years’ LOCKN Fest, joined by mandolin legend and New Grass Revival founder, Sam Bush. A stellar moment in a weekend packed with the world’s top rock and jam artists.

LKE plays the iconic “Bluegrass Underground” concert series, in a cave in McMinnville TN 33 feet below ground. Sold out show.

Fall 2014 features a major tour with LKE joining the ultra popular “Yonder Mountain String Band” with 18 stops across the deep south, upper mid-west, mid-atlantic, and northeast. LKE sets were incredibly well-received and exposed the band to an ever-growing fan base.

Larry Keel invited to be an “Artist At Large” along with Sam Bush and Allie Krawl at the December resort festival concept, Strings and Sol, in Cancun Mexico. Keel made high-impact appearances with every act on the bill, including Greensky Bluegrass, Leftover Salmon, Infamous Stringdusters, and Leftover Salmon.

LKE finishes out the year with a bang, playing host to a sold-out New Year’s Eve show at the sprawling Oscar Blues Brewery facility in Brevard NC.. Keel coordinated a show involving major artists and acts from the region: the Jon Stickley Trio, Jeremy Garrett and Travis Book (Infamous Stringdusters), Steve McMurry (Acoustic Syndicate), Mike Guggino (Steep Canyon Rangers) and extra special feature of Jeff Sipe (Aquarian Rescue Unit, Phil Lesh and Friends, Leftover Salmon) on drums with the Larry Keel Experience. An unforgettable night!

 

2015 The Keels start 2015 with a visit to the Bay Area of California, sharing the stage with local favorites, ‘One Grass Two Grass’ band at Zodiac’s in Petaluma, then a special guest appearance with Keller Williams at the legendary Fillmore West Music Hall in San Francisco. From there, the Keels make another memorable visit to Maui, HI where they host a sold-out show at Charley’s in Paia.

Keel’s music is featured on the television show ‘Fly Rod Chronicles’ hosted by WV’s Curtis Flemming on the Outdoor Channel. the episode is called “The Alaskan Dream’ and is filmed on the Alagnak River in Alaska. The feature includes Keel’s tune “Fishin Reel’ as the accompanying soundtrack.

The Larry Keel Experience tours up and down the eastern seaboard through the end of February, enjoying a rousing run with the great Dangermuffin band.

At the beginning of March, Keel leads up an all-star band of Colorado and California-based JamBand performers at Cervantes Masterpiece Theater in Denver, CO. This 2-night stand features the incredibly creative and energizing collaboration of Keel, Drew Emmit (Leftover Salmon) Andy Thorn (Leftover Salmon), Adam Aijala (Yonder Mountain String Band), Ben Kaufman (Yonder Mountain String Band), Bonnie Paine and Bridgett Law (both from Elephant Revival). Sold out shows both nights.

Larry Keel Experience returns to the magical Spirit of Suwanee Music Park for “Spring Fest’. The Saturday set ends with a massive jam of guest artist-friends, totaling 19 people on stage, and including members of Granpa’s Cough Medicine, Packway Handle, Jon Stickley Trio, Keller Williams, Jeff Austin, Mark Schimick, Bobby Miller and more. The set was considered the ‘most impressive and most memorable’ of the entire festival weekend, by various reviewers.

Keel returns to Colorado at the end of March to participate in another All-Star collaboration band, this time joining forces with the super group of Andy Hall and Chris Pandolfi (Infamous Stringdusters), Sam Bush and Sam Grisman (bass virtuoso and son of icon, David Grisman).  2 nights of exciting musical exploration, sold out crowds both nights.

The Keels perform with Keller Williams in Fesno, CA and attend Phil Lesh’s ‘Phil and Friends’ show in San Rafael, as Phil and Keller’s guests.

Wonderful experiences at great spring-season festivals across the country, including the Kingman Island Fest in Washington DC, Spring Pickin in PA, French Broad Fest near Asheville NC, Aiken Bluegrass Fest in SC, Hidden in the Hollow Fest in TN, Del Fest in Cumberland MD, Graves Mt. Fest in VA, John Hartford Fest in IN and Mtn Music Fest in Fayetteville WV.

The Keels play the Chautauqua Amphitheater in Boulder CO and the State Bridge Lodge in Bond, CO with Keller Wiliams.

July brings non-stop touring from the deep South run with Dangermuffin band, to Copper Mt, CO with Jeff Austin Band, to Applegate Oregon with Vince Herman (Leftover Salmon) and One Grass Two Grass, to Northwest String Summit festival where Keel performs in a collaboration with Darol Anger, Sam Grisman and Scott Law, to 3 sets at Floyd Fest in VA including a capacity crowd attendance at the Keller and the Keels set, to a full weekend appearance at the Alaska State Fair in Haines AK!

August almost as busy, with another appearance in AK at the 49th State Brewery ‘Augtober Fest’ in Denali AK and the Keels make their way to CO to lead at set of “Larry Does Jerry: A Tribute to the Music of Jerry Garcia” at the ultra popular Arise Fest in Loveland. Included in this powerful collaboration are Dave Watts on drums (Motet), members of Head for the Hills and Dead Fish Orchestra band, Jeff Austin and Emily Clark.

Keller and the Keels play the grand opening of a wonderful new venue in Morgantown, WV, the MainStage Live, to a sold out crowd, and Larry Keel Experience plays more fun summer-season festivals including Brew Skies Fest in Thomas WV, Triple C Brew Fest in Charlotte NC, Clear Mt View Fest in Lawndale, NC, Hillbilly Haiku Americana Fest in Bloomington, IN, KY Bourbon Experience in Louisville, KY, Mountain Song Fest in Brevard NC (where Keel appears with the Steep Canyon Rangers and Steve Martin), Boats and Bluegrass Fest in Winona MN and Bluegrass, and BBQ in Peoria, IL.

As the Fall season rolls in, the Keel band bundles up to play hot music at Frost Bite Fest in Silver Lake, WV, the Luna Light Fest with Keller Williams, in Darlington MD, the Festy in Roseland VA (with guest appearances by Andy Hall of Infamous Stringdusters and Sam Bush in the LKE set), stops in GA, TN, NC and SC, and then a freaky fun and spooky Halloween party show at the old Holly Inn in Mt Holly PA (where Larry was Batman, Will Lee was Superman and Jenny was Wonder Woman).  LKE enjoys a 2 night stand in Columbus OH, playing explosive shows with Dangermuffi, the Infamous Stringdusters and the Rumpke Mt Boys.

Holiday time gets fired up with Keel appearing in Keller Williams’ ‘Thanks for Grassgiving’ tour, with sold out shows in Richmond VA and Washington DC.. members of this charismatic ensemble include Keel, Keller, Cody Kilby on dobro, Travis Book and Chris Pandolfi (Infamous Stringdusters) and Jason Carter (Del McCoury Band).

Keel is invited once more to be the Artist at Large at the exceptional destination festival, “Strings and Sol” in Puerto Morelos Mexico. In 4 days, Keel plays 12 different times, appearing at least twice with every band on the bill: Leftover Salmon, Railroad Earth, Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass Band, Fruition and Sam Bush Band. His epic ‘Last Man Standing’ late night jam on the last night of the event featured members of virtually every band, and even some un-announced artists who appeared at the event just for fun: Bonnie Paine (Elephant Revival) and Luke Bula (Nashville session fiddler great).

The year ends with Keel and company enjoying holiday shows and pickin parties, getting together with family and great friends and musicians at benefit events in Virginia and North Carolina, where food items, toys, gifts and monetary donations are collected for various local causes. Hugely successful and heart-warming, these gatherings included musical collaborations with Larry Keel and Experience with Keel and his brother Gary (The Keel Brothers), members of Town Mountain band from Asheville NC, Jack Dunlap (mandolin genius with Bud’s Collective) and the legendary guitar player and singer Gary Ruley (Gary Ruley and Mule Train). A very sweet and special ending to an especially busy yet very meaningful and excellent year!