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Dave Keller Nominated for Blues Music Award for Racial Justice and Equity Benefit Album

Press Release

The music world has again honored a local music legend. The Blues Foundation, which hosts the annual Blues Music Awards, has announced that Montpelier’s own Dave Keller’s benefit album “You Get What You Give: Duets,” is a nominee for Best Soul/Blues Album of the Year. This holds special significance for Keller, as all proceeds from album sales are being donated to groups working for racial justice and equity. Keller, who has been nominated twice before (2018’s “Every Soul’s a Star,” and 2013’s “Soul Changes”), will be traveling to Memphis for the May 5 awards ceremony, considered the Grammys of the blues/soul world.

In July 2020, in response to the murder of George Floyd, Keller pulled together some of the most respected singers in the blues/soul world to create “You Get What You Give: Duets.” Featuring Keller’s original songs, the album includes such luminaries as Joe Louis Walker (Blues Hall of Fame member); Trudy Lynn (Blues Queen of Texas), Dawn Tyler Watson (Canada’s Juno Award winner); Johnny Rawls (Mississippi soul/blues master); and Annika Chambers-DesLauriers (BMA winner). Other duet partners include Annie Mack (from Minnesota); Carly Harvey (the District of Columbia); Katie Henry (New Jersey); and Vermonters Toussaint St. Negritude and Chad Hollister. Kansas City’s gospel piano treasure Brother Bob White is the senior member of the crew, at age 90. And a special appearance by 18-year-old Vince Allen (grandson of Keller’s late songwriting mentor, Memphian Darryl Carter) completes the circle. 

Dave Keller, left, with Toussaint St. Negritude who joined Keller for a duet on the album. Courtesy photo.
All artists and studios generously donated their time to the project. The album features Keller’s bandmates Ira Friedman on keys and piano, Jay Gleason on drums, and Alex Budney on bass. Mark Earley from Roomful of Blues put together a topnotch horn section, Chris Robertson added searing slide guitar, and backing vocalists included April Caspari, Katie Sterling, Havvah Keller, and Idalee Keller. Keller produced the album himself, with Roger Stauss recording it at Sugarhouse Soundworks in Waitsfield. Ben Collette mixed it at Tank Recording in Burlington, where it was also mastered by Rob O’Dea. 

Dave Keller, based in Montpelier, Vermont, has steadily built a national reputation as a respected deep soul singer, guitarist, and songwriter. Keller and his band regularly tour throughout the northeast, mid-atlantic, deep south, midwest, and California. This March they head to Europe for shows in Germany and Switzerland. Career highlights include two performances at the BMA awards ceremonies, recording with legendary guitarist Ronnie Earl, touring with his mentor Johnny Rawls, and singing on stage with the late soul singer Otis Clay.

For more information, visit www.davekeller.com. Listen to “The Evil that Men Do” from the album at youtube.com/watch?v=xCVP8TjrylU.