Thursday, October 15, 2009


Texas Platters

Robert Earl Keen

The Rose Hotel (Lost Highway)

After more than 20 years of delighting live audiences, Robert Earl Keen has become a highly respected Texas singer-songwriter. So naturally he does a rock album next. The Rose Hotel mirrors the Band – it even contains "The Man Behind the Drums," a tribute to Levon Helm – winding through American music and telling distinctively American stories with self-confidence and wry wit. There's a buoyant take on Townes Van Zandt's "Flyin' Shoes," and boss folkie Greg Brown shows up for a brisk duet on his own "Laughing River." Keen and his band are uncommonly locked in, whether on the island-bound "Something I Do," bluesy "Throwin' Rocks," or honky-tonk smiler "Wireless in Heaven." Surprisingly, it's the first time REK's worked with producer Lloyd Maines. With a sound this large and breezy, they ought to be checking into this Hotel again soon.

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