Robert Earl Keen, former Augusta resident Rich Brotherton to play Imperial Theatre on June 18

One of Augusta’s favorite acts, Texas country rocker Robert Earl Keen, returns for a performance at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 18, at Imperial Theatre.

Just a week after his Augusta appearance, Keen and his band will tape a two-hour TV special, Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years, at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas.

Jeff Bridges and Sheryl Crow will be the hosts of the show, which is set to air at 9 p.m. Oct. 3 on PBS stations.

Other guest stars include Bonnie Raitt, Gary Clark Jr., Kris Kristofferson and T Bone Burnett.

Also on the show is former Augustan Rich Brotherton, Keen’s lead guitarist and a record producer.

“The cool part for me is that I’ve been asked to be in the house band,” Brotherton said last week. “So I’ll be playing with all those folks as well. Should be a load of fun. Almost as much fun as playing the Imperial on the 18th. Can’t wait to get home.”

Brotherton also revealed Keen and his band have been working on a bluegrass-flavored album due out the first of next year.

The last release from Keen and his band was Ready for Confetti, which came out in August 2011.

“We have this new one almost finished,” Brotherton said, “and it will be on Dualtone Records. We’ll be label mates with The Lumineers. It’s going to be calledHappy Prisoner, and it’s going to be really great.”

Much of Brotherton’s musical education came performing from ages 11 to 16 with a large Augusta folk music group called The Wright Spirit.

The group, an outreach musical ministry of St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church, rehearsed at the Helen Street home of Brotherton’s parents, Ann and Dick Brotherton.

Brotherton also performed with The Augusta Players.

He and his Aquinas High School friend David Munn (son of priest Dan Munn) performed music at the Gooddale Inn restaurant.

He also did puppetry with Augusta TV host June Stewart, and performed as a solo guitarist and singer at the Café Naturale (later Café du Teau) and Red Lion in Augusta.

Tickets for the Imperial Theatre show are $15, $20 and $24. Call the box office at (706) 722-8341, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays or order online at imperialtheatre.com.

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