Dirty Dozen: Annie Keating

annie keating, 2016Talent spotted by BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris, (who calls the new album,“Wonderful – heartfelt and real”), Keating appeared live on the Bob Harris show twice and has performed at leading international festivals, including Take Root (Netherlands), Glasgow Americana Festival (Scotland), The Brooklyn Indie Music Fest, Brooklyn Americana, New Song and North by North East in Canada.  Keating has played on the bill with John Hiatt, Bon Iver, Amy Speace and other great artists. Keating and her band just released their 7th full length album “Trick Star” this summer.

Can you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from and what you’ve been up to over the past few years?
I’m from Boston, Massachusetts. Went to school at Brown in Providence, Rhode Island and moved to NYC in 1992. I’ve been in Brooklyn for more than 15 years. I learned to play guitar when I was 12 (mostly self taught and schooled by other players who took the time to show me things). I wrote my first song at age 13 but didn’t have the courage to start making records until I was 32 (late bloomer I guess). Since then, we’ve made 7 albums and I feel pretty lucky every day to write/play music. Making up for lost time and having fun doing it. I’ve got 2 great kids (aged 14 and 9), a partner of 20 years (she’s smarter and prettier than me so who knows why she’d stayed with me all this time), 2 rescue cats and a big rescue dog. We all like to have fun, make music, art, hang with friends and eat good food in our Brooklyn Brownstone. Right now I’m getting ready to play the Brooklyn Americana Festival and trying to organize our June/July European (acoustic trio) tour.

How would you describe your music?
Many people compare me to Lucinda Williams, Bonnie Raitt, John Prine, Gillian Welch (alt-country, americana style songs) and those comparisons are flattering as I love each of those artists. The best description I’ve heard (about my music) from reviewers recently was, “there is something in its mix of dust, salt and sugar that is disarmingly engaging” (FOLK RADIO UK).  I also liked it when a recent review said, “touch but tender. Honest, refreshing, deep and provocative songs. Good torytelling at its best… ” I like a song that tells a good story. Or ones that make you feels something deeply. Honest, compelling writing is deeply challenging and it’s so easy to write crap..

Can you tell us a little bit about your influences?
Neil Young was a big influence when I was young – I found an honestly and vulnerability in his songs. My older brothers exposed me to loads of great music that made deep impressions, including the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Jackson Brown, Joni Mitchell, Al Green, the Band, Van Morrision, Joan Armatrading … all those wonderful artists/bands shaped me and my own music.

What are you currently promoting?
An acoustic trio European tour set for June-July in Europe. We have some exciting dates in the UK for July, including the Maverick Festival and some wonderful venues. Finalizing tour plans over the next few months so anyone interested in hosting us at a festival, house concert, venue should contact us!  (Go to the contact page on the website:  www.anniekeating.com)

Have you got a particular song you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of, one that might define you?
Hard question. I suppose I’m always most interested in the new work that I’m doing. I’m proud of the new album, TRICK STAR. Probably the songs that I like best (from all the 7 albums) are Take the Wheel, Belmont, For the Taking, Foxes, Coney Island, You Bring the Sun & In the Valley (these last two are from the new album). But I have the most fun playing the more rocking songs like Trick Star, Storm Warning and Road by Ten live. Those are a blast to deliver to a crowd and I can really sink my teeth into those grittier, bluesy grooves.

What are you currently listening to?
I like to listen to some more unpredictable, driving (with steady drum groove) songs when I run (bands like Frightened  Rabbit from Scotland, the Killers, the National, the Replacements, the Stones, Mumford and Sons, Talking Heads etc) but my go to favorites for working/hanging out would be Nick Drake, Gillian Welch/David Rawlings, Wilco, John Prine, Nina Simone, Dylan… Lately I’ve been inspired by Jason Isbell, a band called Shovels and Rope and another band I recently saw live (they’re incredible live): the Head and the Heart.

And your favourite album of all time, the one you couldn’t do without?
Oh no that’s unfair. It’s a three-way tie: Nick Drake’s Pink Moon, Joni Mitchell’s Blue and Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks.

What are your hopes for your future career?
To keep making music, touring and meeting good people in interesting/beautiful places and to be as good a parent as I can be to my two kids.

If money were no object what would be your dream project?
I’d start a not-for-profit music organization that makes/funds incredible original works and inspiring concerts to benefit people (and the planet) … We’d have a huge festival, bands touring, albums released and all the proceeds would go to stopping world hunger, cleaning up the planet, clean water (where there is none) and food (for those who don’t have it). I hate that in THIS day and age, people are still dying from not having access to clean water or food and that we continue to destroy the planet with pollution, toxic waste and unsustainable policies. This MUSIC MAKING CHANGE kind of organization would support Solar power, windpower … it would be so cool and filled with artistic talent that iTunes, Spotify and all the others would be begging to give money and sponsor things!  Wow. That sounds good. Or else I’d just take 10 incredible musicans on the road (with our families) for a one year travel-the-world world tour and record new songs together in between shows on the bus.

What’s the best thing about being a musician?
Getting to make and share music with wonderful people. Creating things. Being inspired.

And the worst?
Trying to make a living now with music. It’s almost impossible in this day and age of streaming …No one buys albums anymore.  I don’t know how the new generation of musicians will make it work financially.

Finally, have you anything you’d like to say to the readers of Americana UK?

I hope  to see you at shows there in July 2017!  Have a look/listen on the website and stay posted for tour dates:  www.anniekeating.com  If you dig a song pass it on …


About Rudie Hayes 150 Articles
Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show - The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session - playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.
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