Larry Keel’s latest recording creation is a solo album entitled “American Dream”, whose every component from the writing and arranging, to the instrumental and vocal performances, to the recording and production spring straight from mind, soul and hands of the Appalachian artist. Keel composed all 10 tracks on this record that can serve as an autobiographical overview of his life and career and the influences and episodes along the way that have shaped his personal perspective. Reminiscent of Jerry Garcia’s solo album ‘Garcia’, Keel plays every instrument on every track of ‘American Dream’, and the timing of the project is noteworthy because most of the songs were written during the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine period and the nationwide protests that rocked the country in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, all coinciding during the spring and early summer of 2020.
The songs explore a catalog of Keel’s personal impressions and experiences, from road life as a touring musician, to accounts of the challenges farmers face, to imagining the secret world of animals, to not-so-veiled commentaries on social injustice and racial inequality, to celebrations of love and family and innocence. Musically, some of the tracks are rooted in Keel’s bluegrass-background style, some have more of a gritty, blues and old-time stomp, others veer towards poppy folk rock, and a couple of tunes are dripping in moody psychedelia.
All in all, this recording serves as a window into the world of Keel’s mind, at times intense, dreamy or burning.. always human, personal, musically masterful, yet inclusive of beautiful flaws. In Larry’s words about “American Dream” he says: “With this recording I’ve managed to manufacture some of the most mojo-istic shit I’ve ever accomplished!” Sounds like artistic satisfaction!