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PHOTO: LAURA CARBONE
Solo or Sideman, Everyone Knows Dave Is King of the Keys
New York City native keyboardist, singer and songwriter Dave Keyes is a 30 year veteran of the Blues, Roots and Americana music scene. He has released five highly acclaimed albums under his own name, has been named the “Best Unsigned Artist” by Keyboard magazine, and also has been nominated by the Blues Foundation for the annual Pinetop Perkins best piano player award. His sixth album titled “The Healing” featuring Popa Chubby and many other special guests is slated for release in May.
Dave has played with some of the most important figures of blues, roots and folk music, having had long musical relationships with Odetta, David Johansen, Bo Diddley, rockabilly legend Sleepy LaBeef and gospel great Marie Knight among many others. In addition to his own solo gigs and gigs with the Dave Keyes Band, he currently can be found playing with Popa Chubby, Rock and Roll Queen Ronnie Spector, and gospel/blues innovator Alexis P. Suter and the Ministers of Sound.
Dave’s music finds its roots in deep blues, soul and rock and roll. These roots are the foundation of his recent albums and vibrant live shows. His recent albums have received 3 ½ stars from Downbeat magazine and are rambunctious sets of mostly original material that range from New Orleans second line funk to slow sensual blues, swaggering shuffles and boisterous rocking boogie woogie.
Dave ‘s live work both with his own band and with others, have earned him many kudos including the Dave Keyes Band winning the Blues Foundations International Blues Competition. His festival appearances under his own name include King Biscuit, Mississippi Valley, 3 appearances at France’s prestigious Cognac Blues Festival and annual appearances at Lugano, Switzerland’s Blues to Bop festival among many others. The last several years, Dave has also toured Europe extensively with both Popa Chubby and Ronnie Spector often doing double duty opening the shows as a solo artist.
In addition to those mentioned previously Dave has also worked as a sideman for a who’s who of roots music masters such as Eddy Clearwater, Big Jay McNeely, Tracy Nelson, Gladys Knight, Pam Tillis, Darlene Love, and the late great Ruth Brown, Lou Rawls and Levon Helm.
Over the last 20 years, Dave has worked in many roles as a band leader and conductor for both Broadway shows and TV, most notably conducting over 600 performances during the 6 year Grammy winning Broadway smash run of Smokey Joe’s Café. Dave also served as the musical director and band leader for the nationally syndicated NBC TV morning show “the Ainsley Harriott show”. Since then, he's conducted and performed in the orchestras of Broadway musicals Lennon, Urban Cowboy and the Earth Wind & Fire inspired Hot Feet.
Dave also writes music for televison and the media. With saxophonist Chris Eminizer, their company Crave Music creates underscoring and songs that have appeared in numerous TV and films.Their work runs the gamut from emotional underscore, to vintage R&R, to contemporary Alternative and Indie Rock.
Clockwise from top left: Ronnie Spector, Popa Chubby, Odetta, David Johansen, Marie Knight, Bo Diddley