Monday, January 14, 2008

Keen Insight

[Interview/Concert Review] I've never been to a concert where an audience chanted the performer's name demanding an encore. But on Jan. 18 at Harry O's, the crowd stomped their feet, chanting "Robert Earl Keen! Robert Earl Keen!" over and over until the man stepped back on stage.

It was the culmination of more than two hours filled with music, laughter and lyrics everyone could sing to. Lyrics like “The road goes on forever / and the party never ends,” have made Keen’s song by the same name exceptionally popular. “I never thought it’d become an anthem,” Keen explained in a pre-show interview. “I sat down and wrote it in a fit of passion.”

But those cool, anthem-like lyrics belie this modern Bonnie-and-Clyde tale. “I like the idea of the chivalrous man and woman who are survivors,” Keen said. It’s easy to believe, given Keen’s love of great writing and degree in English.

The audience was going crazy before Keen—who took the stage in a cowboy hat and suit jacket—had even played a chord. Soon they were singing along, jumping up and down with fists in the air. Keen even broke mid-song for a poetry slam. “Lubbock, Texas is not like Park City…we don’t have trees in Lubbock, Texas…” It’s great because it’s real.

Keen’s songs could be dismissed as cowboy poetry, but it’s hardly an accurate description. He’s thoughtful about his process, explaining, “I look at great writers and think, ‘This is how the great writers put it together.’” And it’s the tone and visuals that tend to stick with him, so his songs are also filled with images, not run-of-the-mill emotions. They’re passionate, relating all the best parts of Middle America. It’s made his fans devoted, adoring and lively. It’s what makes them chant for more, even though they’ve been dancing, singing and stomping for more two hours. (Tawnya Cazier)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.