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Robert Earl Keen

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Date / Time Location  
Monday Jul 28, 2014 7:30PM Red Rocks Amphitheatre Morrison, CO Buy Tickets More Info

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Bio

Rather appropriately, mystery pervades the career of Robert Earl Keen, the mostsuccessful artist that many Americans have never heard. He's had his songs recordedby George Strait, Lyle Lovett,...

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Rather appropriately, mystery pervades the career of Robert Earl Keen, the mostsuccessful artist that many Americans have never heard. He's had his songs recordedby George Strait, Lyle Lovett, Shawn Colvin, the Dixie Chicks and the Highwaymen(Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash & Kris Kristofferson); appeared in suchprestigious publications as Playboy and Men's Journal; performed on Late Night WithConan O'Brien and The Today Show; had Garth Brooks mention his music in one of hisown songs, and played concert venues steadily for more than 20 years. By his ownadmission, he's never had a song hit the Top 10 of a major chart, and yet he consistentlyplays sold-out shows for audiences that number sometimes as many as 25,000.Keen's career-hugely successful while dodging the music industry's most obviouschannel of exposure, mainstream radio-remains a bit of a mystery even to him.The simple and honest storyteller is certainly the kind of artist that attracted Keen in hisformative years. Born in Houston to a Texas oilman and an attorney who turned him onto authors and poets, he began writing his own poems around the age of five. He didn'tbegin to consider his rhymes as song lyrics until he started playing guitar at age 18,while majoring in English at Texas A&M.In the meantime, he became enamored of roots music performers-the Western tales ofMarty Robbins, the mournful laments of Hank Williams, the passionate rhythms of BobWills & His Texas Playboys. Though Keen completed his college work, he found his true passion in the clubs,bringing his oddball characters to sonic life and gaining a sense of community with theaudience through music he necessarily writes in painful solitude. National Public Radioand the occasional alternative-country program provided exposure for such Keenclassics as the anthemic "The Road Goes On Forever" and the twisted "Merry ChristmasFrom The Family," attracting new fans to his energetic shows, which grew in largernumbers through word of mouth.Keen's efforts had a distinct effect on Texas' music. Lone Star club-goers were notoriousfor their insistence that bands play two-step music-if an artist couldn't make themdance, they usually were not invited back. Keen broke that barrier, establishing a newinterest in thoughtful and unusual singer-songwriters. As a result, he paved the way forsuch artistic Texans as Jack Ingram, Pat Green, and Charlie Robison. Keen's set lists are ever-changing, the songs often undergo metamorphoses withcontinued playing, and his band-whose "newest" member has been with Keen for fiveyears-revels in versatility. As a result, the concerts are often as unpredictable as the people he sings about.