You should be listening to Robert Earl Keen!

Robert Earl Keen is a Texas born singer/songwriter who has built a cult following of both fans and musicians alike.  He is a better writer than singer but that is not meant to damn with faint praise.  After all, he was journalism major in college.  Many of the musicians from in and around Texas credit Keen with being the grandfather of the Texas music scene.

In 1984 Keen self financed the release of his debut album No Kind of Dancer features The Front Porch Song, which he wrote in college with Lyle Lovett. In 1986 he made the trek to Nashville but was unable to score a recording deal.  In 1989, Keen released his national debut West Textures contains his now signature song, The Road Goes On Forever.  With the release of 1993’s A Bigger Piece of Sky, Keen gained a larger fan base and some critical acclaim which in large part can be attributed to his rigorous touring schedule of almost 200 dates per year that he kept up in the 90’s.

Keen’s music is bathed in humor, the hills and landscape of Texas as well as the cast of characters he has met along the way.  His 1994 album Gringo Honeymoon has Keen covering the great Steve Earle’s Tom Ames’ Prayer.  His 1997 release Picnic features the duet Then Came Lo Mein with Cowboy Junkies’ Margo Timmins as well as his cover of James McMurtry’s Levelland

Robert Earl Keen Discography:

  • No Kind of Dancer
  • The Live Album
  • West Textures
  • A Bigger Piece of Sky
  • Gringo Honeymoon
  • No. 2 Live Diner
  • Picnic
  • Walking Distance
  • Gravitational Forces
  • Farm Fresh Onions
  • The Party Never Ends
  • Live from Austin
  • What I Really Mean
  • Live at the Ryman
  • Best
  • Marfa After Dark
  • The Rose Hotel

Top Five Robert Earl Keen Songs:

  1. Mariano (West Textures)
  2. Lynnville Train (Gringo Honeymoon)
  3. Rolling By (No Kind of Dancer)
  4. Shades of Grey (Picnic)
  5. Road to No Return/Carolina, New Life in Old Mexico, Still Without You (Walking Distance)  This is actually a trilogy(Tracks 7-9) of songs and perhaps the finest work he has ever done

Keen began an annual music fest, Texas Uprising that showcased local talent and took place in a variety of locations around Texas.  I believe that this, in addition to his great music, is why so many of the bands that have been lumped in the Texas music scene feel such reverence for Keen and his music. 

Check out Robert Earl Keen at www.robertearlkeen.com

Robert Earl Keen’s music is available at iTunes, record stores, and www.robertearlkeen.com.

Great music awaits!

About Butlerbad

I'm just a dude with a wealth of musical knowledge, an extensive music collection, and internet access. View all posts by Butlerbad

2 responses to “You should be listening to Robert Earl Keen!

  • Uzz

    I’ve always been a big fan of Keen and he really has helped pave the way for other Texana acts like Jack Ingram and Pat Green, but I always felt that Keen was more genuine in his approach to songwriting. An interesting aside, I used to sell Pat Green’s records for him (years ago) on consignment when I managed a record store in Waco. I knew him growing up and when I ran into him a couple of years ago while shooting a concert, he came over and talked for a bit. I’m in the liner notes of George’s Bar:-) I think my favorite song of Keen’s has to be “Undone”. Good stuff!!

    • butlerbad

      Man, check out the musical tribut to Keen titled Undone. It has Wade Bowen, Chris Knight, Cody Canada, Max Stallings, Walt Wilkins, Randy Rogers, Reckless Kelly, and Roger Creager to name a few. Keen plays a few on it as well. It is well worth the time. Pat is on my list of future blogs. Thanks for reading.

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