Keller Williams’s 20th album would constitute a weird left turn in the discographies of most folk musicians. But it fits Williams like a tailored costume. He may be a tourist in the land of funk, but he’s the sort of tourist who moves with such purpose that locals ask him for directions. Recorded live with a four-piece band and two female vocalists, the album delivers what Williams has offered his fans since the ’90s: spot-on covers and rambling guitar tangents. He rose to cult fame for his solo live performances, in which he used looping technology to act as a one-man band. But he plays well with others. His covers of “West L.A. Fadeaway” by the Grateful Dead and “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads are high-energy highpoints, and “Samson’s Wine,” a debauched funk ballad, brings out the best in a band that sounds like it’s having fun. Like his bowl haircut, Williams’s inane lyrics are off-putting and impossible to take seriously; but here, his musicianship shines though. (Out Tuesday)
Essential “Samson’s Wine”Benjamin Soloway can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.