Robert Earl Keen

Singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen has a new album and that's all the reason I need to introduce you. The Rose Hotel became available just a day or two ago and is another great effort by this Texas Alt Country Legend.

Often called the Country Music Frat Boy, Robert Earl is an unassuming and laid back soul whose music is appreciated by a wide range of fans--from traditional county aficionados to the college crowd. He's the kind of fellow it would be easy to be best friends with. It's Texas music, often fun, frolicking and raucous, yet as often his songs are flavored with a heavy tinge of...well, read the Paste Magazine review of Rose Hotel and you'll see what I'm driving at.

Now, everything about this review is far less than fair to Keen's talent and place in Texas/folk/alt country music. And there is nothing perfunctory about the song Man Behind The Drums, a tribute to Levon Helms. But read the review anyway (and bookmark Paste Mag if you are into music even a tad).

Then, go to Amazon and listen to all the clips. And buy every damn CD from REK, put 'em on the iPod, slide on your coolest pair of sunglasses and stretch out on the couch listening to them all. Try your best to morph into that rare Texas state of mind that makes anything bearable.

He's written several songs that have become anthems, including The Road Goes On Forever (And The Party Never Ends) and Merry Christmas From The Family, the latter being a send up until after a few listens, when you come to realize just how serious and insightful the song just may be. And somehow close to home, whether that's Kerrville, Texas or the Upper West Side.


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