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Steamboat Magazine

Artscape - Keller Williams, Harriet Freiberger

07/01/2002 01:00AM ● By Anonymous

Summer 2002:

Artscape - Keller Williams, Harriet Freiberger

Riding, rolling and rocking along   Songwriter and guitarist Keller Williams made the most of the couple years he spent in  Steamboat Springs.   While living here in 1996, he met his wife, Emily. Although they were both raised in  Fredericksburg, Va., it was the ‘Boat that brought them together.   The couple married in February 1998, and moved back to Virginia, although for Keller, the road is still home   He travels throughout the country, playing an original blend of bluegrass, jazz, reggae, funk and  folk music, accompanied by his own smoky voice. In his Steamboat days, he was a struggling  musician sitting in the audience, waiting for fame. Today, armed with little more than his 10-string guitar and a bass, Keller is riding the crest of the Colorado-based music wave along with String  Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon and Bela Fleck’s Flecktones. Last fall, he opened for Bob Weir at Red Rocks, basking in the limelight he sought for so long.    Keller’s path to fame cut straight through the Yampa Valley, which influenced many of his  recordings. “Steamboat,” he recalls. “That was a time when I was really, really happy to be alive.     When I first came there, all I wanted to do was play my music and ride the mountain. And that’s  exactly what I did.   What a time he picked to do it: January 1996 has become legendary in locals’ minds as the month when the ski area received more than 18 feet of snow. Keller’s snowboarding experience inspired the song, “221 Inches.” “That was an exciting time,” he says. “That was really, really cool.”      To make his way through the deep powder, Keller bought a ragged old ‘74 Chevy Blazer,  modified with a pop-up camper shell. His hair-raising adventures on Rabbit Ears Pass in the “Blazebago,” as he dubbed it, inspired yet another song. His first song, “Running on Fumes,” was about the town, and “Sleeping Giant,” for which Keller wrote the music while Greg Stogard wrote the words, is also about the valley. “There’s definitely a lot of Steamboat in my music,” Keller says. 

Harriet Freiberger, Sept. 10, 2001 Through the trees of my years I walk     Sprouted from parents’ lasting love, nurtured by those I     cherished, who cherished me in return, they became my     sunshine and my rain.Once a child, beneath towering oaks,     where my father and I shaped acorns into pipes.Grown and tall, among the maples’ solid trunks,     with my own child, through autumn mounds of     star-shaped red and gold.Then, higher I reached – toward something more – with my companion     of two score years, mid aspens, bending in high     mountain winds, through quaking leaves to see afar.We age together – trees and I – making shade and songs, becoming what will be tomorrow’s pines.      I see them all in days to come, ever green on circling earth’s blue sphere:       – Years of trees, of life, of love – and hope.Touching Titians Italy impressed contemporary realist artist Susan Schiesser, who vividly recalls the thrill of standing with her nose three inches away from Venetian painter Titian’s “The Assumption,” fingers  poised millimeters above the 16th century surface   As a result of her European travels, her own art has an unmistakable Renaissance flavor. It is the unifying characteristic in a body of work which otherwise has many faces – literally.   Portraits are her passion; in December 1999, Susan began painting “Faces From the Mountains,” a series of 20 to 30 large format portraits of local people whose faces she found interesting. Her intent was to touch the core of the community by finding a representative face from each generation, socioeconomic position, political bent and lifestyle.   Known primarily for her scenic paintings, Susan isn’t surprised that some people find it unusual for her work to encompass portraiture and landscape. “The figure was my first love when I was studying with abstract expressionist painter Julius Hatofsky at the San Francisco Art Institute,” she says. “In many ways, the face, the body – everything – is landscape.”    With “Faces From the Mountains” on exhibit, Susan continues painting landscapes. “Six by Six by 100” is slated to shoat the Mad Creek Gallery. “I confess, I rely heavily on my digital camera, but with a twist ... I’ll travel round photographing the seasons,” she says. “Then I rip the images intostripes and randomly rearrange them with clear tape. Usually there’s a blank space where I ‘insert’ a memory fragment from the Yampa Valley, Sonoma County or Alba in the Piemonte. This is my reference material.”        It’s that freedom to improvise that results in the haunting and familiar visits that have become her  expression in paint.