American storyteller: Robert Earl Keen

Robert Earl Keen
Robert Earl Keen’s road leads to Lake Tahoe.
Robert Earl Keen’s road leads to Lake Tahoe.

Some artists go by a single name. A storyteller like Robert Earl Keen uses three.

Robert Earl Keen’s first two Crown Room shows were sellouts.  So fans of the Texas songwriter should not hesitate to get tickets for Friday’s show. Soulful folk artist Andrea Davidson opens.

Robert Earl Keen has built a reputation as one of the nation’s finest musical storytellers, he has been guided by several self-imposed rules and traditions that are often the antithesis of music industry standards.

It’s a formula that has worked well for Keen since he began performing in 1981 and paving the way for a generation of songwriters and performers who make a living on the road.

He paints musical portraits that are as vivid as sunsets over the great Southwest and stories that are as compelling and timeless as Cormac McCarthy novels. But what separates the Americana music pioneer from other songwriters is that he matches this lyrical literature with irresistible melodies, resulting in music that attracts thinkers and dancers alike. His songs are infused with such deep insight and humor that a new meaning and perspective is revealed with each listen, allowing his songs to grow more profound with time. That’s why artists including George Strait, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Lyle Lovett and the Dixie Chicks have chosen to record his songs over the years.

“For our generation of songwriters, he is the Townes Van Zandt, the songwriter’s songwriter,” says Randy Rogers, lead singer of the Randy Rogers Band. “I believe his place in the Hall of Fame is in stone. The places I have been fortunate enough to play all had Robert before anybody else. There was no scene until Robert created it. His formula works. Period.”

Robert Earl Keen

Opener: Andrea Davidson
After-party: Jeffrey Halford and the Healers
When: 9 p.m. Friday, June 7
Where: Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room
Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 day of show
Event Information

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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