Last Sunday night found us at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas, listening to Robert Earl Keen. Fifth row seats – what could be better?
Our sons love his music – one of the first songs Elder Son ever performed for us was Keen’s “That Bucking Song”. I’ll never forget it. Elder Son blew us away with his performance, and that night, we knew he was really serious about his music. Robert Earl Keen did the song at Bass, and blew us away again. The crowd ranged from teens to people in their 70’s…which speaks to the timelessness of Keen’s music. (Of course, being a good old boy from “Texas A&M University” didn’t hurt the attendance one bit – unless, of course, you were a Tech or UT Grad – many of whom were in the audience as well.) Robert Earl Keen is a flat-out entertainer, and one who possesses a great sense of humor.
I’ve heard different songs, over time, by Keen, though I’d not seen him in concert. Sunday night, his performance just rocked. The Bass Performance Hall was sold out and filled to the max. And REK never left the stage – though his band took a break – until the end of the show. He played and sang and entertained for almost 3 hours straight. And then, REK came back for an encore. Then, the show was over – we thought. They all came back, and did an acoustic set – just gathered up at the front of the stage, sans mikes, and got it on. It was simply amazing.
I can’t even say enough about the band – each musician is very accomplished in his own right. So, I’ll just review the one that blew everyone away: the lead guitarist, Rich Brotherton, was simply amazing. Just put a stringed instrument in his hands, and watch him go. In my opinion, Brotherton’s mastery of the guitar rivals that of one of my guitar heroes, Dan Tyminski with AKUS. Brotherton has played professionally since the age of 11, and after receiving his college degree in Music Theory and Composition from Colorado College, went and spent considerable time in Ireland learning from some of that country’s finest traditional musicians. And man, does it show. Brotherton enjoyed several solos (as did every musician in the REK Band) during this performance, and the audience went completely silent – until the end of the song, when they went crazy! Brotherton has also produced two of Keen’s albums, and has a recording studio in Austin.
Anyway – I say all that to say – if you get a chance, a Robert Earl Keen show is worth the money. Go. See. Be amazed. The man is a good ol’ boy entertainer, deluxe. And let me know what you think…but I betcha I already know.