Keller Williams has announced a new Tom Petty-inspired project titled Keller Williams’ PettyGrass, which finds him performing select covers in a rollicking bluegrass style alongside eclectic bluegrass quintet The Hillbenders. The project began in 2015, when Williams put together a set of Petty covers for his annual hometown S.P.C.A. benefit, recording the rehearsals as voice memos on his phone. After Tom Petty’s untimely passing in 2017, Williams and his longtime collaborator Jeff Covert enhanced these recordings and posted them as a tribute to the legend’s legacy and inspiration. In 2018, Keller Williams will bring his PettyGrass project out on the road for the first time. These special performances will serve as a way to pay homage to a musical icon, while bringing a new perspective to his time-honored songs.
“There is nothing like a room full of people singing along to the same song. In 2015, I put together a set of Tom Petty songs to be done in bluegrass at a benefit for my local S.P.C.A. I had so much fun putting the project together; it brought a wave of joy over me singing these songs. With his untimely passing, these songs have been pushed to the forefront of my mind and is seems like as good a time as any to celebrate, publicly, the music of Tom Petty. Luckily, The Hillbenders share my passion for this music and it just so happens that they are kick ass pickers who have amazing attention to detail. These Petty songs lend themselves quite easily to bluegrass and by the end of the night, the audience will more than likely be singing in harmony.” – Keller Williams
Keller Williams has established a reputation as a creative force with his unmatched ability to collaborate and evolve in a career spanning more than 20 years. He has toured with bands such as The String Cheese Incident, Infamous Stringdusters, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Rhythm Devils and Umphrey’s McGee, as well as his various side projects. In early 2017, Williams released two new albums at the same time – the debut from his acoustic dance project KWahtro called Sync, as well as a collection of stripped-down solo acoustic material called Raw.
The Hillbenders are a genre-bending ensemble from Springfield, MO who have been touring from coast to coast since 2008 with their high octane live performances. The dynamic quintet is known for their ability to bridge the gap between popular music and more traditional bluegrass styles, infusing the genre with their varied influences. The band has released three albums, including 2015’s Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry, which debuted at #3 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Chart.