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Robert Earl Keen Jr. preview

| February 10, 2010 | 0 Comments

Joe’s, Chicago
Friday, February 12, 2010

Years ago, all the CMA hubbub about Taylor Swift probably wouldn’t cost Texan Robert Earl Keen much sleep. The country singer/songwriter didn’t get angry — he just killed.

“I have a few dead bodies around,” he told IE last year. “I’m a lot softer now – the body count has dropped to almost zero.” If he does seek retribution though, “I can look at ’em and think, ‘I’m putting your fuckin’ ass in a song. I’m gonna fix you.'” Since the early ’80s, Keen has been a charter member of the Texas musician corps, along side such luminaries as Guy Clark and Joe Ely, and, to a degree, Lyle Lovett and Steve Earle. His influence carries through in Hayes Carll and Todd Snider, though it’s not so much a musical one as proof that a good story and “purple sunset” recordings done right can equal longevity.

He’s a raconteur’s songwriter, weaving real life (“Corpus Christi Bay”) through Southern humor (“Copenhagen”) and borderville fables (“Sonora’s Death Row”). His current album, The Rose Hotel, is his first for Lost Highway and a departure overall sonically — call it a ’50s Ray Price fan making peace with the ’70s — but at its heart lies Keen, flapping his gums and telling stories you wish you had.

— Steve Forstneger


Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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