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A Very Merry Larry Keel Experience w. Colby T. Helms & the Virginia Creepers

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We're feeling very merry indeed with the legendary Larry Keel Experience returning to tear up the Sanctuary stage with his flat-picking wizardry! Fellow Virginia native sons, Colby T. Helms & the Virginia Creepers kick off the night with Southern authenticity.

Larry Keel is an award-winning innovative flat picking guitarist and singer/songwriter hailing from Appalachia. Raised in a musical family steeped in the mountain culture of the region, Keel began from an early age to forge a distinctive sound, taking traditional music and infusing it with modern light. With the acoustic guitar Keel has brought the flat picking form to its highest level of sophistication and sonic power with his muscular, yet refined style of playing. As a composer and singer, Keel integrates raw honesty and charming grit to form a unique brand of music he calls 'experimental folk', songwriting that is filled with reality, imagination, imagery and mood. He has appeared on over 20 albums, 12 of which he produced, and has written songs that have been recorded and performed by distinguished artists including Grammy-award winners Del McCoury and The Infamous Stringdusters. Keel has collaborated and continues to merge creative forces with some of the greatest artists in modern roots music such as Tyler Childers, Billy Strings, Al DiMeola, Tony Rice, Keller Williams and Sam Bush, to name a few.

His latest creation is a solo album titled American Dream, whose every component—from the writing and arranging, to the instrumental and vocal performances, to the recording and production—spring straight from the mind, soul, and hands of the Virginia-born artist. Each of the album’s 10 tracks were composed by Keel and serve as an autobiographical overview of his life and career, as well as the influences and episodes that have shaped his personal perspective along the way.

Listen to Larry Keel’s latest release (Nov 6th) American Dream.

The Blue Ridge Mountains wind through eight states over a stretch of 615 miles. In Virginia, they overlook Franklin County south of Roanoke. Back in the day, bootleggers would refer to the area as “The Moonshine Capital of the World” due to its perfect placement to export contraband. These days, the textile mills of Rocky Mountain and other once cozy-towns have shut down, leaving minimal opportunity and a lot of hopelessness. At the bottom of the Southwest Virginia foothills half-a-mile from the nearest neighbor, Colby T. Helms resides in an “underground house” built by his late father. He chops wood daily for the stove, hunts, and takes care of his mom. He also pens the kind of raw and real country music that cuts to the bone. At 12-years-old, Colby endured the loss of his dad due to cancer. Beset by sadness and loneliness, he turned to music. He taught himself guitar, banjo, and mandolin by watching local performers and YouTube videos. He amassed a growing record collection, combing through the stacks at flea markets and browsing eBay. Joined by his band The Virginia Creepers, he cut his teeth with countless gigs around the area. He also shared a series of arresting D.I.Y. performance videos on YouTube, including “Smoke and Flames.” With starkly honest songwriting and a sharp angular twang to his vocals, he struck a dynamic balance between country storytelling, blue grass energy, and blues power. After signing to Photo Finish Records, he introduces himself with a series of 2023 singles and his forthcoming debut album.

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