Monday, May 07, 2007

Robert Earl's party goes on at Stagecoach

By Dan Ruby

Probably my favorite set Saturday was Robert Earl Keen on the Palomino stage. There is a buzz in the crowd while the stage is set and then REK ambles in wearing a purple cowboy shirt and wraparound sunglasses-–cool personified.

Some performers have a magnetic pull. With his winning smile and aw shucks presentation, he pulls you into his world of hard-rocking Texas story songs.

Here's the setlist for REK aficionados: Dreadful Selfish Crime, Corpus Christie Bay, Shades of Gray, Amarillo Highway, Buckaroo Song, Farm Fresh Eggs, The Road Goes On Forever.

The band, led by flash guitar Rich Brotherton and featuring an inventive steel guitar, tears it up on the big rockers but backs off on Robert's more sensitive moments. The one Keen record that I don't know is Farm Fresh Eggs. On first hearing, I didn't love the title song as much as some other REK material, but I was impressed with the theatrics as Robert ampped it up with an evangelical fervor.

Plus it was a great lead in to the party climax with the road going on forever. That night in the campground, it went on for a few more hours as I found a few Robert Earl fans and picked my version of Corpus Christie Bay well into the night.

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