If I Could Holler
couldn't sing a note, he could take over the world with his guitar
chops alone. The fact that he injects as much passion into
his vocal delivery as his acoustic resonator strangulations singles him
out as a Catfish worth trolling for. The 14 arresting tracks
on his latest release, If
I Could Holler, will leave you feeling...hooked.
from Blues Revue,
Premier Guitar & Living Blues
"A solo acoustic blues outing, the sound is divided betweeen
Keith's distinctive, hard-plucked, rhythmic
style of guitar playing and his rather startling vocal
assault - an odd, urchin-like quality that bobs and weaves in time
with his guitar histrionics for a truly expressive double shot of
talent. This hour-long set of foot-stompers and
head-turners kicks off with the title track, an original
that rides the back of Keith's thrilling, highly animated
12-string accompaniment. The comparititvely simple Pack My Little Suitcase
showcases the high drama Keith can squeeze from the neck of a
six-string, as his expressive vocals begin to hypnotize, if not
mesmerize. A reworking of the beloved traditional The Cuckoo presents
Keith's talents in their best light, injecting
the old chestnut with uncommon zest. His treatment here
underlines his musical philosophy: like many of his old-time blues
idols (Son House, Robert
Pete Williams, Bukka White), Keith brings a personal style
to traditional songs and delivers them in his own distinctive way.
Keith uses the term "re-creations" to describe the
time-honored gems he reworks, some more liberally than others.
As a result, the ghosts of Leadbelly, Jessie Mae Hemphill
and Blind Willie McTell
flow freely through his work, yet he lays claim to a playing and
singing style so thoroughly distinctive that everything old is new
"Gonna Live That Life
honors Keith's love for Joseph
Spence's distinctly Bahamian contribution -- and
intricate, polyrhythmic guitar approach blending island rhythms with
vocals utilizing a series of grunts, groans and guffaws that serve the
guitar's melody. Despite falling head-over-heels in love with
Son House's deep delta blues as a teenager and migrating towards the
influence of Mississippi Hill Country music, Keith's distinctive style
owes a large debt to Spence's lovable musical idiosyncracies.
McTell's gospel Cross
the River of Jordan is augmented here by Keith's strong
slide skills on baritone bottleneck guitar. His
Birddogs pays tribute to Charley Patton's Pony Blues, and, as
with most of Keith's compositions, what could stand as an instrumental
achieves full liftoff with his spirited vocals.
"A reworking of Skip
Gal leans on a slight falsetto that does the piece no
favors, but three bars into the sensational Jitterbug Swing,
Keith reclaims your complete attention. This classic is
absolute butter in Keith's hot hands. One of his signature
tunes in concert, he imbues it with equal parts funk and fun.
To do anything short of hearing it again and again does the
song a disservice. Offbeat, original and uncommomly
satisfying, this 46-year-old, Indiana-born bluesman is overdue his
rightful place in both the blues history books and your own library."
- Blues Revue,
# 113, Aug-Sep 2008, by Eric Thom
"I love this CD - let's
just get that our of the way right now. There's
a raw, pure energy to it. So live and in the moment - almost
innocent, yet very worldly. The strings snap, sizzle and
twang in just the right way, and that powerful voice growls,
whispers,snarls and hollers in all the right places. The
originals blend seamlessly with tradition, and the old songs are
lovingly presented, full of power and inimitable mischief.
Drawing from an enviable arsenal of guitars, this solo outing
is rich and sonically varied; from steel to wood, from bottleneck to
flesh, from sex to gospel, this CD is endlessly engaging and downright
fun to listen to."
Guitar, June 2008, by Gayla Drake Paul
his eleventh solo release Catfish
Keith delivers another rousing set of
resonator-driven blues cuts that pay homage to several acoustic blues
masters but with enough of Keith's own unique flair and touch to keep
the material fresh.
"Keith has fashioned a 30-plus year career by mining his deep love for
the Mississippi Delta and Piedmont styles of blues. The
two-time Handy Award nominee brings it all together in his lastest
release on Fish Tail Records.
"Keith's playing evokes images of the easy-rolling blues of Mississippi
John Hurt on the album's lid-lifter and title cut.
to the sweet melody of the title cut, powered by Keith's 12-string
mastery, and the listener can instantly recognize an artist comfortable
with his craft and appreciative of those who have paved the path before
I Could Holler, Keith unleashes reams of emotionally
charged riffs and evokes images of a bygone era.
"While his music gives a serious tip of the hat to many of the masters,
such as Leadbelly
Fat Woman (with the Meat Shaking on the Bone) or Skip
James on My
or Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Me, don't make the mistake of classifying Keith as an
"Keith keeps each track fresh with his own spot-on interpretations
while his impeccable mastery of the resonator drives this release
straight to the heart of the blues."
Blues, #195, May-June 2008, by Dave Ruthenberg