I’ll never forget the first time I met Keeton. I had seen his old band, The 71s, play a show in Bryan, Texas with Quiet Company. All the mics went out on stage about two lines into their cover of “American Girl,” and Keeton proceeded to lead the audience in a sing along – his band never missed a note of the song. I didn’t meet him that night, but their set definitely made an impression on me.
I officially met Keeton a few months later at Main Street Crossing in Tomball. As soon as I introduced myself, he knew exactly who I was. After their acoustic set he came over, pulled up a chair and we proceeded to talk music for a good 30 minutes – our shared love of The Beach Boys, favorite bands (he didn’t laugh when I told him how much I like Hanson…still) and more. It was one of those cool moments where you find another human being who loves music just as much as you – something I have never seen waver in Keeton as I’ve followed his music since that summer.
He’s now on his own, has released on lovely EP called “Stumble on Love” (free download!) and will follow it up this spring with a second EP called “The Ghost.” He’s a great songwriter, wonderful musician and a good music friend. Get to know Keeton in this month’s 5 Q’s:
1. What makes being a solo musician exciting? What makes it challenging?
Keeton: Actually, it’s all scary. You do everything on your own. I miss having the guys in my old band around me to bounce ideas off of…then again, it’s nice to let the vision for the music you are making exist only in your head, take it’s time to find it’s way out, and then it’s really from you… from the truest, most authentic place there is. It takes time for songs like that to work their way out, and silence is the best setting for them to do that. Silence with no timeline.
The thing I enjoy most about being a solo artist is not having to put an excessive amount of thought in to any one thing. If I want to make a video, make it. Post it. Move on to the next thing. If I want to write a poem and post it on Facebook, do it. Although it’s difficult not to lean on people at first, it’s exciting to be completely untethered in what you want to say, and then the moment hits that when people hear it, they will know it came from you… and they might hate it. Then it gets scary again. I don’t care who you are.
2. How would you describe your music?
Keeton: It does it’s best to speak for the Kingdom.
3. What musicians have influenced you the most?
Keeton: Springsteen, Tom Petty and musically, right now, Ben Howard.
4. What one song should a new fan check out?
Keeton: Please listen to “The Prayer.” It’s a real prayer I prayed to God when my band broke up. I just made it rhyme. I think prayer is a very amazing very difficult thing to believe in. This song is the closest I’ve come to describing it, the God who listens to our prayers and how I honestly feel about Him.
5. Why do you love music?
Keeton: I feel connected to the world around me, the universe, God, people – even myself at my very core – when I write music. I can’t say this for sure or anything, but I really feel like my DNA wants to write songs. They don’t come easily. It’s still a craft that requires lots of effort and discipline, and I feel like I’m just now becoming decent at it. When songs begin, there is something that starts inside me, that isn’t of me. It’s real and kind of weird. The craft of making music or writing songs is one that involves me letting that “thing” grow, using my skills to shape it in a way makes it clearest and then presenting it with as much authentic passion as I can muster. When I do it or when I get too busy or lazy to pay attention to it, I feel unhealthy and out of sync with what is going on around me.
Music has a way of explaining things to our soul that bypasses the mind. Some things don’t need to be analyzed to know they are real and true. They just are. Music is evidence of that and moreover, in many ways, the method that these realities present themselves: love, God, the tension between our infinite hopes and our human limitations, sin. Music tells me these things are real. My soul sees them clearly when certain songs are played.