Energetic. Emotional. Enigmatic.
Many musicians proclaim originality as their forte, but Ethan Keller’s star qualities truly cannot be pigeonholed. Swimming & screaming over dreamy chords produced by fingers that seem to flow over the fret board, his vocals soothe you and shake you in the same stanza. His love of jazz is the bedrock upon which layers of upbeat rock & pop are built. Hip-hop outcrops jut out of a vast landscape entrenched with deep roots of homegrown folk singers; both featuring poetry filled with simultaneous melancholy & inspiration. His sober, somber explorations of truth & turmoil do not depress, but uplift and illuminate like a beacon of hope.
Ethan Keller is a Midwest pioneer. Writing since age 9, touring since 13, and promoting since 18, Keller built a scene in his southeastern Wisconsin hometown, quickly permeated the Milwaukee sound, and then took to the road. Since 1995, he has sold over 10000 albums and made over 2000 appearances in 35 states.
This is the long awaited release of Face Light, the 12-track debut from Milwaukee trendsetter, Ethan Keller. Originally begun in fall 2004 as an analog demo, the demand for a full-length record was expounded by the supreme sound quality of the tracks. Keller’s critics & fans alike are once again confronted with his signature innovative style, as well as the commercial viability of his newest & most mature material.
The all-star combo featured on this project is comprised of Milwaukee’s most esteemed young players. Bassist Matt Turner & drummer Jeremy Kuzniar pound out raw, toothsome and virtually telepathic grooves of all varieties (Latin jazz, Afro-Cuban, improv, avant-garde, rock) for different bands all over Wisconsin and the US, and settle into their proverbial pocket with Keller at live shows, as well as the studio. Former band mate of the rhythm section, and prized keyboardist, Kristopher Crow, also graces the original 4 analog tracks. Having to step up to the “backing band,” of all his albums to date, Ethan offers up his most polished, poignant & heartfelt performance on Face Light.
Keller draws on wide-ranging influences to create straightforward songs with swinging grooves & sophisticated poetry. Eclectic, jazzy techniques reminiscent of Jamiroquai and Steely Dan shine through on “Move On” and “Camouflage,” while the deep, dark lyrics of “Ambrosia” and “Something Deadly” reveal Keller’s inner spiritual struggles. However, the overall sunny vibe of the optimistically titled record is best reflected on bouncy tracks like “Stranger,” and “Midwest Folk.” Additionally, Keller’s popular rendition of Anita Baker’s “Same Ole Love,” appears on the album in raw acoustic form.