ROBERT EARL KEEN
The Texas troubadour explores small-town life, crime sprees, spirituality, love lost or gained and myriad other tales that seemingly shrink novellas into concise songs. Keen hovers in the hinterland between folk and country, where roots-rock and introspective balladry wrap around poignant songwriting. His honky-tonk twang and barroom rockers were an early influence on the development of alt-country. Keen’s latest recording, Ready for Confetti, retains his oft-witty, always organic songcraft. Sure, with nearly three decades of hitting the road and releasing numerous recordings, he’s bound to have a couple of misses. But his catalog is filled with plenty gems for the astute listener, even though, shamefully, radioland hasn’t rewarded him with hits.