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Alumna's Tuneful Journey from Teacher to Troubadour

For Washington and Lee alumna Jenny Keel, of the Class of 1989, the transition from teacher of high-school French to bluegrass bass player has apparently been a smooth one — at least based on the press that she and the band, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, are getting nowadays.

Just this week Jenny is featured in a Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette story, “From teacher to troubadour: Bluegrass bass player Jenny Keel,” that ran in advance of the band’s upcoming Charleston appearance.

The Gazette story explains that Jenny was never into bluegrass until she got to W&L. She met Larry, her eventual husband, when she went to watch another bluegrass act and saw him performing with the band called Magraw Gap.

Jenny taught herself the bass, but she hadn’t really thought about performing until Larry left Magraw Gap, formed his own band, and told Jenny that she was going to play bass.

In a recent article in the Fredericksburg (Md.) News-Post, Larry was asked about performing with his spouse. He responded: “When I married Jenny, we decided we wanted to create a career where we could work closely together. . . . We work together as partners to make (a living) and we’re always working together as marriage partners. That’s an ongoing work. We’re just very happy to go out (and play music). It’s a blessing.”

Jenny has become an accomplished performer, and, she explained to the Charleston Gazette, “The goal every time is to connect, share the music and be a team . . . to create the best music possible, the best vibe, and have a great time. Be it 2000 strangers in an auditorium or music hall, our goal is to get everyone on the same page through the music, and be comfortable, and fired up . . . or just transported.  Whatever the emotion of the song calls for, if it’s scary or just wide open, joyous . . . anywhere, anytime that’s what we’re going for.”

Listen to clips from their music, watch videos of performances and buy CDs at larrykeel.com.