I came across this great Jeff Gage article about Texas Singer-Songwriter Robert Earl Keen and felt compelled to share it. I remember listening to REK on Red Dirt Radio Hour as a teenage boy growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and continue to enjoy his music to this day. As a fan of Red Dirt and Texas Country music, I cannot count the number of shows I've been to where the headliner, after covering one of his songs, would then tell their own Robert Earl Keen story about how they met him and what an honor it was to play on the same stages. I have always thought of him as the musical equivalent to a Comic's Comic and think this article does a great job of expounding on this idea.
The first time I saw Robert Earl Keen in concert was at Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma back in August 2005. It was the Monday before I was heading off to college and decided to go with my remaining friends as a last hurrah before we departed. Because it was a midweek show, the crowd was small and they had set tables up on the historic dance floor in front of the stage. While I was initially disappointed about the tables and the small turnout, I would not have had the fortunate experience of buying him a beer and chatting between sets without it being a more intimate show. I still enjoying sharing that story every chance I get.
I soon became one of those Texas fraternity boys mentioned in the article. Whether we were cooking hamburgers at the house, out at somebody's ranch for the weekend, hanging out at an apartment complex pool, or enjoying a hot summer day on the Green Belt or Hamilton Pool, Corpus Christi Bay and Gringo Honeymoon always found their way onto our playlists. We even made the pilgrimage to Texas Country Mecca to see Robert Earl Keen play at Gruene Hall.
Most recently, my wife and I got to see him in concert with Lyle Lovett in Albuquerque, New Mexico in February 2018. We were not sure what to expect seeing him at a performing arts center rather than a beer joint/dance hall. The banter between the two of them and the stories of their musical careers between songs was every bit as entertaining as the music they played. They told stories about touring with artists they admired like Guy Clark and the late Townes Van Zandt. It was very similar to the way Randy Rogers, Cory Marrow and Pat Green talked about Robert Earl Keen when I used to see them in concert.
My top 5 Robert Earl Keen songs (in no particular order). Please use the comments section to share REK stories, as well as, your favorite songs that didn't make my top 5.