Concert Preview: Robert Earl Keen

Q: How can you tell if someone’s from Texas?

A: Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.

Well, there’s that old (and true) joke. But, you can also tell a Texan by their enthusiasm for Robert Earl Keen’s upcoming Utah shows (Tuesday’s sold-out The State Room show, or for the tickets-still-available Wednesday night show at Park City’s O.P. Rockwell)—for Texans, worshipping Robert Earl Keen is as mandatory as cowboy boots and “Don’t Mess With Texas” jokes.

Keen, you see, is a Texan, through and through. And check out this musical pedigree: College roommates with Lyle Lovett, he’s good pals with Steve Earle, he toured with Texas legends Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt and everyone from The Highwaymen to the Dixie Chicks have covered his songs. Yet, for some reason, though he’s got a cult following, he’s not a household name outside of Texas.

The important thing, though, is that Robert Earl Keen is one of the best living American songwriters. That’s not hyperbole, just truth. He has a pure voice for storytelling through music. Most of his songs  are about the working class (See: “Merry Christmas From The Family” or “Feeling Good Again”), the criminal class (See: “The Road Goes on Forever”) or love, among the classes (See: “Coming Home To You” or “Gringo Honeymoon”).

And don’t even get me started on his band. You have to hear it to believe it. 

I’m such a fan that the last time I saw Keen (less than a year ago in Park City) I was named an honorary Texan by the people around me—all of them from Texas. Every. Single. One.

Get yourself some of those Park City tickets and join the party. All of us Texans (native and adopted) have been waiting for you to join us.

Oh, and you’d better brush up on your two-step. You’re a Texan now, after all.


The State Room, Tuesday October 10, sold-out.

O.P. Rockwell, Wednesday, October 11, tickets available here. 

Christie Marcy
Christie Marcy
Christie Marcy is a former managing editor at Salt Lake magazine. Though she writes about everything, she has a particular interest in arts and culture in Utah. In the summer months, you will find her at any given outdoor concert on any given night. In the winter, you will find her wishing for summer. Follow her on social media at @whynotboth.

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