As reported by the Houston Chronicle, it happened to Willie, it happened to Johnny and at age 50, it seems to be happening to Robert Earl Keen. There’s something about the passage of time that makes an outlaw cowboy or a “quirky” cowboy simply just more of a traditional cowboy.
Six or seven years ago, the Houstonian Keen would hit the stage unshaven, with the remnants of the night before still on his breath. He’d sing songs about widemouth bass and “white trash” Christmas gatherings. It was a far cry from the clean cut gentleman in stylish western wear who stepped onto the rodeo stage Monday at Reliant Stadium, especially compared with the ragtag party boys of Cross Canadian Ragweed who opened the show. The upside is that Keen’s voice may have never sounded better. Bypassing his latest album, What I Really Mean, he went straight to the old favorites in an effort to please the homers with limited time. His range on I’m Comin’ Home and Corpus Christi Bay brought back memories of his strong 1988 concert release. Staple ballad Feelin’ Good Again was even given a Technicolor glow.
Before he left, Keen showed a bit of the adolescent, leading the crowd in singalongs of Gringo Honeymoon and Merry Christmas from the Family.
— Michael D. Clark, Houston Chronicle
source: Houston Chronicle
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