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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Williams, WMD’S explosive on newest CD, DVD release

Over the past 15 years, Keller Williams has been able to
sell out concert halls, perform with world-renowned artists and achieve
critically-acclaimed status among musicians and critics alike. And he was able
to do it entirely on a solo career. However, all things eventually end — or at
least temporarily — as Williams has moved from soloist to lead vocalist of his
new band, the WMD’S.

The WMD’S came to be through collaboration with Keith
Moseley, the bassist from The String Cheese Incident; Gibb Droll, the guitarist
for Brandi Carlile; and Jeff Sipe, who played drums in Aquarium Rescue Unit and
Leftover Salmon. While the WMD’S may be seen as social commentary of the day,
their name actually came from the collective initials of last names. Get it?

During their winter 2008 tour, the WMD’S selected several of
their favorites and debuted their live album, simply titled Live. With a two-disk, 17-track set, as well as a bonus
DVD of performances throughout their tour, the WMD’S have a lot to offer new
fans. Live is a roller-coaster
ride of experimental tempos, sounds, rhythms and transitions from the quartet
expressing their innermost emotions through vocals and instrumentals.


The CD opens with the song titled “Same Ole’.” With its
jazzy intro, the band takes turns improvising on the 11-minute song, feeding
off one another until Williams is ready to utter his emotionally charged vocals:
“Love sucks me in/ And chews me up/ And passes me out again/ Same ole thing/ It
happens everyday.” The loose-sounding jam among the band, along with the vocals,
continues throughout the song’s transitions until the band dives directly into
the next, more upbeat folk-rock song titled “Skitso.”

However, the CD is not all love-filled lyrics. Williams’
comical vocals enrich the crowd in the song “Casa Quetzal,” which opens with wavy
strums of the guitar and the light beat of the cymbals, helping to set up the
excellent transitions from Sipe on drums. As Williams ‘barks’ into the
microphone he sings, “I’m a shady character/ In a tropical temperature/ As long
as I am in the shade/ This gringo has got it made.” The song continues with
Williams using his vocals to fill in a missing trumpet player.

Live continues to
experiment with different sounds of bluegrass and rock from each instrument,
while the band performs unique transitions through each song. The way the band
works with one another, responding to guitar solos, lyrics and transitions from
jazz to rock is simply musical genius.

The bonus DVD included in the album provides Keller Williams
fans a glimpse of the tour at different locations. Despite the horrible video
footage, which is pre-warned in the DVD, a psychedelic visual effect takes over
the screen through different parts of each song. Not only do you get to see the
band live, but also fans get to see comical montages of Bob Barker in the song
“Bob Rules” and mullets in the song “Mullet Cut.”

Overall, Keller Williams’ new CD is nothing short of
brilliant. His musical abilities in this album bring music lovers together to
experience a musical journey.

Keller Williams and the WMD’S will be playing at the
Barrymore Theater Sept. 24.

4 stars out of 5

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