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Robert Earl Keen

Live at The Ryman – 2006 (Koch)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Robert Earl Keen

Recorded at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on Nov. 13, 2004, this live set features a mix of Robert Earl Keen's newer and more familiar tunes. Keen's two most recent releases are well represented with the title tracks to each, as well as the comical "Furnace Fan" and the tragic "Train Trek" from "Farm Fresh Onions" (2003) and the haunting "Long Chain" and bitter tale of love lost "Broken End Of Love" from "What I Really Mean" (2005).

Keen's signature songs are also here. "Merry Christmas From The Family" gets the crowd in the holiday spirit, and on "The Road Goes On Forever" Keen and his band rock out in an 11-minute jam. Other standouts are the upbeat "Feelin' Good Again," the dark "Shades Of Gray" and Terry Allen's "Amarillo Highway."

Keen is well supported throughout by Rich Brotherton (guitar), Bill Whitbeck (bass), Tom Van Schaik (drums), Marty Muse (steel) and the Bad Livers' Danny Barnes (banjo).

In his liner notes Keen calls the concert "The Greatest Show Ever Been Gave." While that reference may be amusing hyperbole, this is one heck of a show.