Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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KEEN, Robert Earl

(b 11 Jan. '56, Houston TX) Country singer-songwriter. Began playing bluegrass in college in Texas with the Front Porch Boys; co-wrote 'This Old Porch' with fellow student Lyle Lovett, which they've both recorded. Moved to Austin '81 and switched to folk/country rock as the Incredible Robert Keen and Some Other Guy's Band; first LP No Kinda Dancer on Workshop picked up by Rounder (later on Sugar Hill). Encouraged by Steve Earle he moved to Nashville '84; he sang backup on Nancy Griffith's 'St Olav's Gate' and she recorded his 'Sing One For Sister' and 'I Would Change My Mind'. Back in Texas he cut The Live Album '88, then West Textures '89 (about life in Texas) was an ideal vehicle for his gruff voice. Tours regularly, especially in Europe where his troubadour style has a cult following. Further albums: A Bigger Piece Of The Sky '93, Gringo Honeymoon '95, No. 2 Live Diner '96; all on Sugar Hill, some on Special Delivery in UK. Picnic '97 on Arista Austin maintained the high standard.