Robert Earl Keen Opens for Himself After Opening Band Cancels
Robert Earl Keen brought a whole new meaning to the sentiment “the show must go on” after his opener canceled last minute before his nearly sold-out show in Charlotte, N.C., on July 21. Keen decided to treat fans to a double dose of his country and bluegrass stylings, first as his alter ego “that guy,” dressed down in a casual button-down and jeans, followed by his regular set later on.
The unsuspecting fans got a bonus 45-minute acoustic set, which included eight tunes, interspersed with Keen's anecdotal storytelling and musings from his career.
The country music vet recently gave Taste of Country readers the first glimpse at his latest music video “Footprints in the Snow,” off his most recent album Happy Prisoner, which is a bit of a new flavor for the artist.
“I’ve had a lifelong love of bluegrass,” Keen says of the record. “I’ve always had an affinity for music that I felt like you’d listen to in your living room. Music that felt real. My mom liked the old hillbilly music, and as a kid, I used to fall asleep listening to an eight-track tape of Jimmie Rodgers’ greatest hits.”
"My whole education in music started with bluegrass,” he adds. "And that’s partly where the album title comes from. I’ve been listening to it forever, I love it, and so I feel like I’m something of a happy prisoner of bluegrass.”
Keen became the first recipient of BMI’s Troubadour Award which honors songwriters for their “endless and outstanding songwriting ability” earlier this year, and was named to the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012. A legend in his own right, the artist has worked with icons like George Strait and Nanci Griffith and released 19 full-length albums over his more than 30-year-long career.