Country Club Dropout

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
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Clay McNear
Contact: Clay McNear