by Mike Corrigan
Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer Brad Keeler plays what he refers to a "new, used and reconditioned antique music," a variety of American roots musical forms including (but certainly not limited to) delta blues, ragtime, traditional folk and bluegrass. Keeler grew up in Connecticut and came of age musically in Florida before moving out to the Inland Northwest a year and a half ago. He spent years playing pop and rock covers (along with the occasional traditional folk or blues nugget) at various beach bars and clubs along Florida's east coast.
"Then, about 12 years ago, I really started to develop this thing that I call new, used and reconditioned antique music," he says. "And I came up with that because people would ask me what I play and I couldn't just say 'folk,' because that's not accurate, and I couldn't say 'blues' because it's more than that. Even if it's a song that I've written, I write it in sort of a traditional fashion."
One of his earliest sources of inspiration was the sound of slide guitar. "I had seen people playing slide guitar, and I liked that sound. I remember going to my mom's medicine cabinet and getting a lipstick tube and putting it on my finger and trying to play slide guitar. The guitar I had at the time had nylon strings which isn't really right for playing slide. But that slide guitar sound, whether it was blues or country music, always really caught my ear."
As for performing in the Spokane/Coeur d'Alene area, Keeler has nothing but praise for the local coffeehouses and small acoustic venues he's in the habit of frequenting.
"One of the things I found interesting when I got out here is that there's a lot of good talent around. And the venues that I've been playing have been great -- the management and audiences are fairly up on things and open-minded, and there's a real interest in traditional music. My experience here has been very rewarding."