19
Aug
10

Living on That Dusty Trail


Robert Earl KeenSince the mid 80s Robert Earl Keen’s songwriting styles have proven to be unequaled. His many loyal fans gladly venture into the vivid settings rendered in Keen’s songs – where his colorful and eclectic characters reside – to live the stories themselves. They know the gang that hangs out at Mr. Blues in “Feelin’ Good Again.” They’re in the alley with Sonny and Sherry in “The Road Goes on Forever” as that fateful shot rings out. They live to drink Mescal with the boys from the old Broken O at Amanda’s Saloon on “Sonora’s Death Row.”

Keen’s subject matter is as wide as the Texas skyline and can sometimes take you places dark and dreadful. He can cast you into a shadowy, paranoid persona where you know everyone is out to “Blow You Away.” In “Billy Gray” he shares the tender story from long ago of young Sarah’s tragic love for Billy. In the end, you’re there next to Billy’s headstone. Keen also has a very sharp wit that shines in the perennial favorite “Merry Christmas from the Family” and in the recent “Wireless in Heaven.”

Robert Earl Keen may very well be the father of Americana music (as some have called him). It’s unclear if he’s ever made that claim, so maybe he’s more like its illegitimate father. But he’s no deadbeat dad – after all, he’s nurtured and supported Americana for years and there are many singer-songwriters who claim him as their inspiration.
This article was originally published in Eugene Weekly, August 19, 2010

Read OKOM interview with Robert Earl Keen…

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