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Hey Robert Earl Keen: keep the cheap shots out

Jeffrey Remz  |  January 23, 2012

I've never understood the need of artists to put down another, especially in concert. Is it an ego thing or are they really feeling inadequate and need to try and pummel the defenseless?

I witnessed this a number of years ago in Boston when some band - I can't remember (and I would have no trouble outing them either) criticized Britney Spears. Since this was a glossy pop or dance concert, I just took it as one cheap shot at Spears. The singer knew the crowd would not like Spears, of course, and she just proved to be an easy target. Such guts (sic).

This kind of comment happened again Sunday at Robert Earl Keen's concert in Boston. Keen's been a long-time Texas singer/songwriter type. Not totally country, but he's got the good Texas vibe and is a keen songwriter. During one of his songs, he decided to go after some easy targets as well - Taylor Swift, Sugarland, Rascal Flatts and a few more.

I'm still not sure what the point was except to say that what he considered country had nothing to do with what Swift and company are doing. Fair enough, but I think the crowd had some inkling that Keen would never be mistaken for any of the artists he named.

The crowd fortunately didn't overreact as I remember happened with the Spears comment. Does keen have such a big ego that he has to criticize those in Nashville who have done well? I'm no Sugarland or Flatts fan at all either, but to knock them for the sake of doing so while singing on stage? Not exactly needed.

I just wish singers would show a bit restraint when they are chomping at the bit to criticize others. No one is asking you to like these artists. Yes, it is obvious what you do has nothing to do with their styles, even if both are considered country. Next time, Keen ought to play his songs and leave the cheap shots out. And his songs were certainly good enough. His knock wasn't.



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