Robert Earl Keen’s “The Road Goes on Forever” might just be the best country song of the last two decades.
The story of a waitress named Sherry, a loner named Sonny, and their life of crime after he rescues her from a grabby customer, it’s also classic Keen lyrics wound tighter than a Baptist’s rectum, driven by a tongue-in-cheek indifference to the status quo and ballsy thematic choices: “Sonny took a pool cue, laid the drunk out on the floor/stuffed a dollar in her tip jar, walked out the door.”
That same type of wordplay is prevalent on Keen’s latest CD, What I Really Mean. So is the blasé, I’ll-do-as-I-damn-well-please attitude with which he delivers songs about Animal Farm-like criminals in “Mr. Wolf and Mama Bear” and Hank Williams in drag on “The Great Hank.” Yep, you read that right Hank Williams in drag, sequins, and red lips: “As a busty suicide blonde waitress said I thought you were dead’ he tilted his back and told her how he’d been a big star but now country music was full of freaks.”
| Current Choice
Robert Earl Keen
Fri, Oct 21
1281 Gruene Rd.
Keen pulls it off too. The guy does his inimitable thing with a consistency that’s virtually unparalleled in the biz. That’s probably why his fan base has swelled over the years (he sells out shows bigger names can’t, even though he doesn’t earn half the airplay or record sales they do). When Keen comes to Gruene Hall on October 21, expect loyalists who sing along, already know the responses to all his prompts, and who respect the music as much as the man. •