Longtime Charleston musician Keith Bruce has a strong reputation as a stand-in guy for cranking out fiery electric guitar solos with various bar bands, but his solo acoustic gigs are much more at ease.
They’re actually not totally acoustic, though. Bruce strums his six-string along with a digital sampler that plays a backing track of drum kit patterns and bass guitar lines. “That’s my band from Japan,” he says.
It took him years to program the drums and bass tracks for his entire setlist.
While a handful of local strummers utilize digital loop pedals (electronic devices that record and instantly play back audio samples of their guitar work on stage), Bruce goes for the prerecorded one-man band thing, and he does it well. From across the room, his mix resembles that of a full band.
Bruce’s weekly Monday evening gig at the newly opened Locals Bar (in the Queensborough Shopping Center in Mt. Pleasant) finds him strumming, finger-picking, flat-picking, and singing through a laid-back repertoire of rock and pop classics from the ’60s and ’70s with relative ease. In this mellow setting, Bruce’s low-toned, gritty singing style complements the tasteful rhythm guitar and solidified arrangements quite nicely — whether it’s a tune by America, Stevie Ray, or Wings.
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