Ask Robert Earl Keen
If there’s one thing legendary singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen and his band know how to do, it’s put on a show.
“I’m a performer, I want people to enjoy themselves,” Keen said in a recent phone interview. “Look, if people don’t have fun at my shows, they can have their money back as far as I’m concerned.”
Keen and his band have performed in Durango at least 10 times, and they’re about to do it again when they take the stage at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College on Tuesday night along with special guest Thom Chacon.
“I like Durango,” Keen said. “We’ve had some good shows there – especially at Fort Lewis College; we’ve had some really good shows there.”
And today, to understand where Keen is coming from, we let the fans ask the questions:
What are your reasons for moving from genre to genre? “Farm Fresh Onions” was a little funky, while your latest album is bluegrass?
I just write what I want to write. I’m not beholden to anybody – I never have been. I think some people never thought I’d last. No one’s ever told me, “You need to do this.” Two discussions I’ve never had are: “I’m gonna make you a star” and “This is what you need to do.” I get to do whatever I want to do. When I got to “Farm Fresh Onions,” I felt like I wanted some crunchy electric guitars. I wanted to step out with some flat-out oddball lyrics.
The bluegrass album was truly out of love for bluegrass. I do love the form, I love the lyrics. We had a really great time making this record.
Are you afraid of being handcuffed to your more popular songs?
No, I love that. People sing my songs with me – I love that.
With you and Lyle Lovett doing so many shows together recently, any plans for an album together?
I couldn’t say; that’d be more or less up to Lyle. I love Lyle ... we bounce things off each other. We’ve hung out all the way through college.
If you were to do a duets album, who would you want to work with?
Sade. That’s easy. I love Sade, she’s an amazing writer. She’s so sparse on her records – they just sound incredible.
And there’s no denying he loves what he does.
“My heart is in performing,” Keen said. “We’re truly a touring band.”