UK’s Russell Keefe says he’s been playing music since he was a “small child,” he mused. In and out of several bands during his music career, it was a stint with Les McKeown’s legendary Bay City Rollers that occupied a lengthy season of his life; 18 years, he said. Les, the original lead singer, was looking for a new band to tour with. “I was called to go play a TV show with him in Germany, just after the wall came down,” Russell recalled. “I did one TV show, and 18 years later, here I am. It was a lot of fun, but it was time to do something else,” he said.
So three years ago, Russell formed his new band, TBelly with several other former Rollers. And while this era of his music leans more towards original blues, Russell said that blues hasn’t really been mainstay for him until recently. “While I was growing up there were bands like Led Zepplin and Deep Purple, that sort of thing, and I was into their music, but I don’t have a massive legacy with it. I would always mess around with it during sound checks and on my own. So it just came through that. My singing style and my voice suit it. And when the Rollers finished, I needed a new band, and this is what came out of it.”
The new band, TBelly, and their new CD, Dead Men Don’t Pray, is full of Russell’s original tunes. “This suits me perfectly,” he said. “I’m not 18, and I’m not a pop singer. My songs fit, and I like this style,” he said.
The band will be touring the eastern part of the united states for two weeks in July, and possibly back again later this year on the west coast before dialing back into the studio for another round of TBelly blues.