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Consistency beyond style

By Keller Williams

Sci Fidelity Records: 2007

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This review first appeared in Turbula in January 2007.

Can a lack of stylistic cohesion be a strength?

Keller Williams makes a convincing case with his eleventh album, "Dream." It's all over the map, ranging from the power pop of the opening cut, "Play This," to the Caribbean-meets-prog rock of "Celebrate Your Youth" to the Indo-jazz of "Lil' Sexy Blues" to the reggae-drenched "Ninja of Love" to the fusion jazz of "Got No Feathers" to the newgrass of "Sing for My Dinner" (with the String Cheese Incident sitting in).

The breadth of styles found here is reflected in the numerous guest artists on the album: musical heavyweights like Michael Franti, Bela Fleck, Bob Weir, Steve Kimock, John Scofield and Charlie Hunter span everything from reggae to bluegrass to Miles Davis' band to the Grateful Dead.

Tying it all together despite the stylistic wandering is the generally top-notch quality of the songwriting and the uniformly outstanding playing of Williams and his guests. There's also a sense of fun throughout, of genuinely talented folk simply letting loose with the tape running so we can listen in later.