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From the Country Standard Time Archives

Gravitational forces can't keep Keen down

The Roxy, West Hollywood, Cal., June 21, 2001

By Dan MacIntosh

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - Robert Earl Keen's performance at Southern California's historic Roxy club was supposed to be a sit down affair, but chairs and tables weren't nearly enough to keep dedicated fans from standing and dancing enthusiastically to their favorite parts of the show.

For example, when Keen sang to a song (titled "Gandhi" on the set list, at least, and apparently unrecorded) with a chorus with the 'F word' in it, many in the audience cursed right along with him, and one brave soul even thrust a middle finger into the air each time Keen got to the un-deleted expletive part.

Keen fans are the type that like to drink, laugh and sing along. But this talented Texas singer/songwriter is much deeper than the expectations of his fans, which is why the social commentary of "Goin' Nowhere Blues" (from the upcoming "Gravitational Forces" release due in September) didn't sound at all out of place, and why the optimism of "Feelin' Good Again" rang so hopefully true.

Backed by a flexible band, that could switch from the steel guitar led country of "High Plains Jamboree" to the straight folk of Peter Case's "Travelin' Light," helped to make this club date on a hot first day of summer worth sweating for.

He didn't say too much between songs, but the dry wit of his lyrics said more than enough. Keen proved once again how he belongs on the top rung of the current Texas country crop, and it looks like it will take more than gravitational forces alone to keep this good man down. And the same can probably be said for his fans.