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Group bringing sounds to town

By Staff | Jan 27, 2012

Submitted photo Larry Keel and Natural Bridge take the stage at Shepherdstown’s Opera House Feb. 3.

The sounds of bluegrass and mountain music will be celebrated in Shepherdstown as Larry Keel and Natural Bridge take the stage at the Shepherdstown Opera House on Saturday, Feb. 3.

Keel, who has played in Shepherdstown on prior occasions, is looking forward to coming back to the area.

According to his wife, Jenny, who also plays bass in the band, the couple sees Shepherdstown as a small, charming historic town not unlike their hometown of Lexington, Va.

“We love the area there,” Jenny said in a telephone interview earlier this week.

Keel, who has been playing music since the age of 7, grew up in a household filled with music. He received his first guitar at age 7 or 8 from his older brother, Gary. Prior to that, Jenny shared, he was known as “the spoon kid,” as he played the spoons. “He was very good at it,” she said.

The couple, who have been together for about 15 years, find that playing music together is the answer to their search for happiness. Jenny explained that prior to meeting Larry, she did not play music at all.

“You can re-invent yourself and learn something new at any age,” she said of her move into the music world. “I burned to be involved in music and we burned to be together,” Jenny said of their work together. “We didn’t want separate jobs, we wanted to constantly be together.”

She shared that while it not perfect harmony all the time, the couple has found a good groove and are enjoying life.

According to Keel’s website, the group is bringing a fresh and spontaneous new look, sound and energy into the season. Keel is described by some reviewers as the most powerful, innovative and all-out exhilarating Acoustic Americana flatpicker performing today.

According to its site, the band performing with Keel includes Will Lee on mandolin and vocals, Larry’s life-long picker pal on soulful, blues-grass style five-string banjo and penetrating lead vocals, and Jenny with her impeccable timing and solid, yet imaginative bass lines as well as tenor vocal harmonies.

Throughout his career, Keel has released 13 albums and is featured on 10 others. The band will promote their upcoming new release, “Classic” which offers a lot of original music, both Larry’s own compositions and those of close friends.

“It’s a whole fresh, new batch of songs,” Jenny said.

In addition to Natural Bridge, the show will feature the tunes of The Boatmen, a four-part harmony group founded in 2009. Making up the band are Randy Gilkey, acoustic guitar/keys/harmonica and vocals; Nick Drum, bass guitar and vocals; Matt Mullins, acoustic guitar and vocals and Robert Gross-Djembe/vocals.

Self-described, the band has been inspired by rock, folk, Motown, bluegrass and country. This is what makes a Boatmen show such an organic, energizing and constantly evolving experience, they say.

The show will begin at 9 p.m. at the Opera House. Tickets are on sale now for $15. Call 304-876-3704 to reserve seats.