There was a glow on The Mill’s stage when Catfish Keith stepped on to get into his show on Nov. 30. The crowd was chattering and warming up, but when Keith started playing they couldn’t help but smile and stomp their feet.
That night, Catfish Keith rambled off the kind of music that brings people together. When you hear his sassy guitar riffs your foot starts to move to the beat on the ground and that beat travels up your leg and through your entire body. Once the show hit its climax — which was not by any means short-lived — the whole crowd felt like it was shaking along to the music.
The one-man country blues machine started his career at the early age of 22. His inspiration comes directly from old blues legends such as Leadbelly and Johnny Shines, so it’s not surprising that his lyrics and voice take you back to a time when the blues wasn’t just a genre, and song titles were nice and long.
Just by looking at Keith’s facial expressions on stage you can tell that the moment his fingers start racing across the fretboard, he is overcome with pure joy. And the set doesn’t slow down. Keith’s music is an explosion of soul and pure ecstasy.
Although most of Keith’s original songs are composed of simple riffs, the spirited melodies holler at you just as loudly as Keith himself. It just goes to show that instruments can be extensions of the body.
Keith opened with a couple crowd favorites like, “On a Monday” and, “If I Could Holler Like a Mountain Jack,” to get the stomping and shouting going. Then he ripped into some older stuff, “When I Was a Cowboy Out On the Western Plains.”
It was a good night for Keith and the crowd, who by the end seemed to be connected by the amount of energy flowing through the room.