“Master Storyteller” (Rolling Stone) Robert Earl Keen Is A ‘Happy Prisoner’ Of His Influences | Shore Fire Media

29 October, 2014Print

"Master Storyteller" (Rolling Stone) Robert Earl Keen Is A 'Happy Prisoner' Of His Influences On New Album Out Feb 10 On Dualtone

Inspired By Bluegrass & Acoustic Music Of Keen's Youth, Album Features Guests Lyle Lovett, Natalie Maines, Sara Watkins & Others



On February 10, Dualtone Records will release Robert Earl Keen's 'Happy Prisoner,' an album unlike any other in his storied catalog. Inspired by the bluegrass and acoustic music he grew up around, Keen - who in addition to his own recordings has written for George Strait, Joe Ely, The Dixie Chicks and others - has put his unique stamp on fifteen standards and other beloved tunes (twenty on the deluxe edition) by Flatt & Scruggs, The Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, even Richard Thompson.

"I've always had an affinity for music that I felt you could listen to in your living room," says Keen. "My mom liked the old hillbilly stuff, and my whole education in music started with bluegrass. I've been listening to it forever, I love it, and so I feel like I'm something of a happy prisoner of it."

'Happy Prisoner' was produced by Keen's frequent collaborator Lloyd Maines and features his longtime ace band consisting of flat-picking guitarist Rich Brotherton, Upright bassist Bill Whitbeck, percussionist Tom Van Schaik and dobroist Marty Muse. Special guests include Lyle Lovett and Natalie Maines on vocals, Nickel Creek's Sara Watkins on fiddle, and Danny Barnes on banjo and Kym Warner on mandolin. Trading the high lonesome vocal style associated with bluegrass for the homepsun bonhomie of the raconteur, Keen opens new doorways into these songs. The result is untraditionally traditional, Kentucky-by-way-of-Texas music.

Over a career that spans more than three decades, Robert Earl Keen has carved out a place in the Lone Star pantheon of incisive, novelistic writers, alongside Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle and Guy Clark. Rolling Stone has called him a "master storyteller," and The New York Times' Jon Pareles wrote, "Texas seems to breed down-home philosophers, and Mr. Keen is one of the best."

'Happy Prisoner' tracklist:

1. Hot Corn, Cold Corn 
2. 52 Vincent Black Lightning 
3. Footprints In The Snow 
4. 99 Years For One Dark Day (with Peter Rowan) 
5. East Virginia Blues 
6. Poor Ellen Smith 
7. Long Black Veil 
8. This World Is Not My Home 
9. T For Texas (with Lyle Lovett) 
10. Peter Rowan Intro 
11. Walls Of Time
12. White Dove 
13. Old Home Place 
14. Twisted Laurel 
15. Wayfaring Stranger (with Natalie Maines) 


Robert Earl Keen On The Web:

For more information on Robert Earl Keen, please contact Matt Hanks (mhanks@shorefire.com), Hector Silva (hsilva@shorefire.com) or Luke Carron (lcarron@shorefire.com) at Shore Fire Media: (718) 522-7171