Country Club Dropout

Texas songwriter ain’t no Nashville cat

A while back, we were chatting up Robert Earl Keen — the best songwriter no one outside of Texas has heard of — and we dropped the “country” bomb. Now, Keen’s a pretty mellow dude, but he got all worked up, saying, “I’ve never written a country song in my life. That phrase ‘Texas singer/songwriter’ limits you.” True, it’s both blessing and curse. Keen’s perpetually lumped in with the sainted likes of Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, and Nanci Griffith, but he’s not a lick like any of ’em. We think — heresy! — that Keen’s better than any of ’em, a master storyteller who appeals to both sensitive types and snuff-drooling rednecks.
Fri., Feb. 8, 2008
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