Over the last 10 years Dave Kellan has rocked the country spanning coast to coast. A native of Midland, MI, and now living in New York City, since 2000 Dave has released 5 independent full length LP's of original material, his most recent - the self-titled Gutbucket - earning this year's top honor of 'Best CD Release of 2012'.
Kellan's group, which consists of Brett Mitchell on drums and Jake Krull on bass, also won Best Funk & Blues Band honors, while Dave also secured trophies for Blues Songwriterand Male Blues Vocalist. But critical acclaim is nothing new for Kellan, who broke onto the scene in his early 20s when he won a Citadel/Epic Records Mid-Michigan Idol contest back in 2002, which led to opening slots for various national acts such as Uncle Kracker and Bowling for Soup.
Since his high school days, Kellan studied and absorbed the sonic forays and dynamics of such guitar virtuosos as Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan; and since moving to New York City five years ago, Dave has deepened and polished his uniquely soulful syncopated vocal style, melding it to a musical sound possessing a rhythmic economy affording Kellan the latitude to soar with his super-charged guitar, volleying trills of sharp clear notes into new dimensions.
Given that an unprecedented number of people registered to vote in this year's Awards Ceremony, Kellan's reaction to securing so many top honors caught him somewhat off-guard. “I was really surprised mainly due to the fact I'm in New York most of the time. But I guess since I've been playing at least 15-20 shows in the area a year and recording with the Tri-City's top musicians, it's kept me relevant, which is cool. There are lots of great Blues players around and I'm humbled to still be appreciated. Social Media these days always seems to keep us all a few clicks away, so it's easy to stay in touch with everyone.”
As for his plans in the upcoming year, Kellan plans on getting involved with NACA and doing a college tour by 2013. “Summer and early fall are always busy and I'm excited to be playing the Free Music Fest in June with Gutbucket. I have about 25 new songs on the back burner and we've been recording in my apartment, which I call 'PK Studios, after my late mother's initials. I also had a session last fall with drummer Erik Kalb who is on tour with Sharon Jones right now. He was also recently touring with jazz giant Charlie Hunter.”
Kellan is also eager to not lose any steam from the creative momentum he finds himself propelled by this past year. “I have some great musicians out here in my band on a regular basis,” continues Kellan. “My roommate was one of the drummers that toured internationally with 'River Dance'. He is my main drummer and plays my styles flawlessly. Slowly but surely, it's coming together on the original stuff and I'm really excited to get my next album out sooner than later.”
When asked about the sharp, fluid, and expressive sound that distinguishes him from other artists in the Blues genre, Kellan points to his conscious effort to wed divergent styles. “It's funny, but Blues to me has branched out to so many other styles in my mind. Even though I'm sometimes playing blues licks, it's evolved into much more a funk/jazz approach. The feeling is ever evolving. Blues & Jazz are obvious cousins and I'm comfortable in the funky midst of it all. Anything I feel that moves me or is emotive often has its own kind of Blues that may not even refer to the traditional context of the music.”
“I'm just happy to continue to do this for a living and I'm honored to still keep in touch with so many friends back home. It's always great to come back and entertain familiar friends and musicians who are now considered family. They definitely know who they are.”