Keller Williams and Acoustic Dance Music

Betsey Geier

photograph: Taylor Crothers

If you know anything about music, you’ve probably heard of EDM, or electronic dance music. But, have you heard of ADM – acoustic dance music?

Keller Williams is a diverse musician and a fan of what he calls ADM. Williams defines ADM on his website as “solo acoustic guitar and voice with every other song walking the line of electronica.” His website goes on to say “If you need a title to file under try electro-hippie acoustic downtempo.”

In order to define it, you need to go to a show and hear it for yourself. And, you can. Williams will be at the Windjammer on Isle of Palms on June 22.

Williams laughs about it, though, when I ask him to define it for me.

“It’s kind of like a tongue-in-cheek type of thing,” Williams said.

Williams has always had some kind of backbeat with his music, whether it was a solo project, bluegrass, or something else.

“I’ve kind of always played dance music and it’s always acoustic,” Williams said.

For Williams, the beat is an important part of his music. 

“The idea is that you can sit in a circle with no amplification and play. That’s the acoustic part. Then, you bring in the formulas of electronic dance music like the build-up and the tensions, the release, and the drop,” Williams said.

Many of his projects are created with this in mind but then transition into something different. For example, Kwahtro started with the idea of acoustic dance music, which includes two acoustic guitars, a double bass and drums. It's an evolution of acoustic dance music involving improvisational bursts of new disco, reggae, drum and bass and jazz swing afro trap. 

Williams first got started in music playing acoustic guitar.

“I started playing in the late 80s when there was commonly a dude in the corner of a restaurant or coffee shop, and I thought, I could do that, so that’s how it started,” Williams said.

From there, Williams has built an enormous catalogue of music and has worked with great musicians like Rodney Holmes and Rob Wasserman. Some of his projects include More Than A Little, Grateful Grass and Keller & The Keels.

When he plays at the Windjammer, he will be performing solo with the goal to entertain himself.

“I can’t really expect to entertain anybody if I’m not having fun,” Williams said.

There is no real set list or set rules. Williams wakes up thinking about songs and sometimes takes requests from facebook and instagram. He mixes things up so that he doesn’t play the same music that he played last time he was in town. Each show is truly a unique experience.

What’s Next

Williams is working on a new project called Pettygrass. 

“It’s all Tom Petty songs done bluegrass,” Williams said. He’s partnered with The HillBenders, a seasoned group of talented bluegrass musicians, to connect Tom Petty with bluegrass.

He’s also working on an instrumental album. It includes songs that he’s been playing for 20 years and is excited to finally share.

Don’t miss Keller Williams at the Windjammer on June 22.