Ryan Keef grew up in Fort Payne, AL, about 90 minutes northeast of Birmingham, AL and home of the country music supergroup Alabama.
Raised in a Southern Baptist family, Keef found himself surrounded by Gospel Music at an early age. He learned to play drums as well as guitar at age 12 by listening to Bob Seger, Bad Company, and Lynyrd Skynyrd albums. By the age of 16, Keef had joined his first band outside of playing in the church. Leaning into more blues-oriented artists such as Allman Brothers, Gov’t Mule, the guitarist found a new voice. He and his then band, Electric Voodoo, went on to perform the blues club circuit for several years taking on different variations with different instrumentations. The band was voted “Best Blues Band in Alabama” in 2006 after performing at the IBC in Memphis, TN. As Keef’s tenure with Voodoo came to a close, Keef met Georgia singer-songwriter Michelle Malone and became her guitarist for the “Debris” tour (Along with fellow Alabama drummer Katie Herron.)
With Malone, Keef toured more high profile venue and cities, such as New York City, NY, Boston, Mass, Philadelphia, PA and had the opportunity to perform with or support several other bands and artists, like Sister Hazel, Black Oak Arkansas. After leaving Malone, Keef took a brief hiatus from performing to record his debut solo album, which was self titled. Recorded and co-produced in Nashville, TN with friend Johnny Neel, whom Keef had met and started performing with a few years prior. Keef released the album and was met with regional radio play and reviews. He toured sparsely in support of it. After touring, Keef returned to the club circuit and began performing with various other artists and bands, including more performances with Johnny Neel. By this time, Keef’s style had shifted into a more Jazz-Fusion approach, as he’d been heavily influenced by Jimmy Herring after they had met in 2008. This style helped shape Keef’s sophomore release “The First Discovered Distance,” in which he self-produced. The album features an experimental, improvisational approach, while maintaining a cohesive singer-songwriter feel. After supporting “The First Discovered Distance,” Keef joined Permagroove with whom he released the “Perfectly Broken Machine EP.” The EP took on Keef’s previously recorded solo songs and recreated them. In addition to Permagroove, Keef founded Trade Day Troubadours with longtime friends and fellow singer-songwriters Reno Roberts and Matthew “Matty” Croxton. TDT acts as a hub for the three independent artists to remain solo but have a backing band as well.
In 2016 Keef lost his mother to colon cancer, shortly after releasing his third solo effort “To Live & To Love EP.” He continues to tour with both Permagroove, Trade Day Troubadours, as well as solo. Keef has also performed with Marty Stuart, Anders Osborne, Tim Reynolds, and most recently with George Porter Jr. on November, 12th 2016 in Birmingham, AL.
Fort Payne, AL