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Robert Earl Keen

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By Texas standards, Robert Earl Keen is a minor legend. Friends like Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith and Joe Ely have turned Keen's songs into modern country classics, and his own performing career has been hallmarked by some of his own magnificent country albums, although most of them flew under the radar of most music listeners. Keen, 45, thinks of it this way: "I make country music for people who hate country music." Keen was a Texas A&M journalism student and budding songwriter in the early  ...
Texans have long revered Robert Earl Keen as one of the deities of Texas roots music, but he has never garnered the same rabid following outside of the Lone Star State. That began to change last year, however, when his "Picnic" spent six weeks atop the Gavin Americana chart. Now Keen is looking to continue that success with "Walking Distance," his second Arista Austin album after a long stretch on Sugar Hill. The new album and its predecessor must come as a surprise to Keen's long-time  ...
Robert Earl Keen comes from the notoriously songwriterly state of Texas, and he's always followed the writer's credo of writing what he knows, whether it's a jocund tale of fishing for big mouth bass or a chance encounter with a migrant farm worker. Musically he has rarely tested the boundaries of singer songwriter country, but his new record, "Picnic," does just that, mixing catchy, almost pop like tunes, with a bright folk rock sound, resulting in his least immediately country recording, but one that's not without challenging moments.  ...

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