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Published: 2010/01/18
by Mike Greenhaus

Auld Lang Syne: Keller Williams, Ivan Neville, Steve Molitz

2009 was a banner year for a number of artists we cover regularly in the pages of Relix and on Jambands.com, and once again we polled a number of musicians, managers and festival promoters to hear their thoughts on the last twelve months. What keyboardist thinks his former bandmate will make it big in 2010? Which member of moe. has been digging Tom Waits and how does Obama fit into all this? Read on to find out…

Also, be sure to read the latest installments in our Auld Lang Syne series to see what Widespread Panic, Galactic, Drive-By Truckers, Danny Barnes, Brett Dennen, Tea Leaf Green, Railroad Earth, Rogue Wave, The Dodos and a number of other musicians have to say about the past twelve months.

KELLER WILLIAMS

What will you remember most about 2009?

I’ve been madly busy in 2009. I just recorded a bluegrass record with Larry and Jenny Keel. It is called Thief and will hopefully be out in early fall 2010.

What album or albums appeared most often in your iTunes?

I listen to a lot of CDs when I drive. The one that kept me going the most this year is Funk Fixes and Remixes from the Pimps of Joytime. As far as my iPod is concerned, it lives in my iPod DJ Mixer. Lately, I’ve been mixing everything with trouble funk drum beats. I think my son hung off of my ipod as it was docked in the mixer and now…...she is broke.

What was your favorite show or tour in 2009?

I believe my favorite show was Girl Talk. Late night at ROTHBURY. The super quiet second set with Larry Keel and Adam Aijala at the Mississippi Studios in Portland, OR was pretty special, too.

What emerging band should readers watch out for in 2010?

2010 people should look out for Buck Wilson Jr., The John Lee Experience, The Jay Starling Quintet and K Love Dub and possibly The Covert Operations.

What artist or artists will be most synonymous with the past decade?

The decade belongs to Taylor Swift, The Jonas Brothers, The Eagles, Dave Grohl, U2, Madonna, Britney, Christina and Danny Barnes.

*****

NAT KEEFE (HOT BUTTERED RUM)

What will you remember most about 2009?

This was the year Matt Butler was integrated into our band. It’s been so much fun. I’m making the music I’ve always wanted to make, an integration of string band aesthetic, West African beats, and pop melodies. It was a year of transitions in my circle of friends and family. I find myself writing a lot of “hope/despair in the face of change” songs, for better and for worse!

What album or albums appeared most often in your iTunes?

John McLaughlin Live at the Royal Festival Hall- with Kai Ekhardt, it’s completely off the hook; Mastodon- Blood Mountain; The Decemberists- Hazards of Love; John Zorn- Bar Kokhba; Fleet Foxes- Ragged Wood; The Blow has a great single called “True Affection.” Amongst my colleagues and friends, I’ve really enjoyed Zach Gill’s new album, and the Avett Bros Rick Rubin album. Bela Fleck’s Throw Down Your Heart movie is amazing. It’s Bela collaborating with musicians in Africa, from communal marimba dance troupes to Malian divas.

What was your favorite show or tour in 2009?

The Inauguration. Pete Seeger, years after being blacklisted by the American government, is given the spotlight in the Capitol. I also got really wrapped up in the Taylor Swift/Kanye controversy. That was fine entertainment. I’m going to stage a similar coup at the Jammys this year, watch out.

What emerging band should readers watch out for in 2010?

Fruition. Soul/blues stringband from Portland, OR. They are the biggest rockstars I’ve seen with acoustic instruments.

What artist or artists will be most synonymous with the past decade?

This was a rough decade in lot of ways. It’s the Decline and Fall of the American Empire. The artists that have been of service to people are either calling the shit like they see it, or giving us a viable way to escape. At the mega-scale, U2 does both these things well. Lady Gaga is in the process of setting a high bar for pop stars. Closer to home, I think Steve Earle is a hero for putting his career on the line to sing the truth.

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