Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen to perform this weekend during The Festy ExperienceLast year, the big news of The Festy was the appearance of music legend Lyle Lovett.
"I was pretty flabbergasted when that came together,” recalls Michael Allenby, co-founder and owner of The Festy Experience as well as the Artist Farm, the agency that organizes it.
“Lyle Lovett took a chance on us last year,” he continues. “It was the only festival he was playing at on his whole tour with John Hiatt, and he loved it. He told me so. … People say a lot of things at music festivals, but it was at least an open door.”
In fact, Lovett did more than say it. He sang it.
During a special performance with the Sam Bush Band, whom he joined onstage following his set with Hiatt, Lovett ad-libbed about his experience at the festival while singing “On Top of the World.”
“We came to The Festy for the very first time,” he sang to cheers from the crowd. “But, it won’t be the last. Not if you don’t mind.”
Allenby says he hoped Lovett would return, but he certainly did not expect him to come back the following year. And yet he has.
This time around, Lovett has brought veteran Texan troubadour Robert Earl Keen with him to play a set Sunday, something Allenby says feels like winning the lottery.
Coming off “Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions,” Billboard’s No. 2 Top-Selling Bluegrass Album of 2015, Keen has continued to make waves with his Tex-Mex musical sensibilities.
“I’m just moving around all the time,” he says. “It’s so weird because I was always hoping to be doing more and more, and now — about the time I started thinking I’d like to do less — I’m doing more than I can even possibly think about.”
The Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Famer — who has crafted songs for artists like George Strait, The Dixie Chicks and The Highwaymen, a country super-group consisting of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson — became the first recipient of BMI’s Troubadour Award. This award honors songwriters who craft music for the sake of the song without regard for ratings or charts.