With his funky virtuosity on the acoustic guitar and wacky songwriting, Keller Williams defies easy definition, evoking a caffeine-addled Trey Anastasio one moment and the coffeehouse jazzman on acid the next. With his trusty sampler by his side, Williams' extended improvisations have won hearts of post-Phish refugees and brought him to stages supporting new folk heavies like Ani Defranco and the String Cheese Incident. Williams grew up in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and played guitar from an early age. His first gig came at 17, and -- after a brief stint as a theater student at Virginia Weslyan College -- he self-released his debut Freek in 1994. Owing much of its approach to guitar virtuoso Michael Hedges, the record attracted some attention and, after moving to Colorado in 1995, he caught the ear of jammy bluegrassers the String Cheese Incident. He joined Sting Cheese briefly as their bassist and has issued a number of records with the group's label, SCI Fidelity.