Robert Earl Keen is a Texas folk hero, a singer-songwriter who neatly bridges the gap between Lone Star scene forefathers like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, and a younger generation of country artists — Pat Green, Jack Ingram — who’ve mostly picked up and left for Nashville’s more lucrative pastures.
The Rose Hotel is his first new album in four years, and for devotees, it’s a no-brainer. But for those who weren’t conditioned by Texas birthright to respond to Keen with Pavlovian fervor, all it takes is a look at his labelmates on Lost Highway to know if he’s worth your discovery: His wry, mature brand of storytelling fits perfectly alongside Lucinda Williams and Elvis Costello, his sense of place is as vivid as southwestern up-and-comers Ryan Bingham and Hayes Carll — and hey, Willie’s there, too.
Sound like company you’d care to keep? Then here’s “Something That I Do,” a laid-back West Texas groove that should make those Labor Day longnecks go down even smoother. Check it out, preorder The Rose Hotel on Amazon, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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