Country genius Robert Earl Keen plays the Knick on Sunday

 Texas is a state, yes. But it's in its own way a vast universe unto itself, encompassing numerous ecosystems from swamps, big cities and the Piney Woods to mountains, the Gulf Coast and deserts and each is populated by characters as distinctive and colorful as the land itself. Singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen, a Houston native who lives with his family on a ranch near Kerrville in the Texas hill country, not only knows this, but he thrives on it.

"You know, things have worked out pretty well. I did used to bemoan my fate and think maybe I'd been unlucky, but in the end I've been very fortunate. I've had a long, gradual, sustained career. In one way, it's interesting to be on the outside and watch other's careers blow up. All of a sudden, an artist gets really big, almost overnight. And a lot of times it doesn't last."

"Our core band has been together going back over 20 years. I like to think we're as cool and unique as you could ask for. (Laughs.) It's a lot of fun, and we know exactly where we're going and what we're doing, even though we never play the same show twice.  After the (2016) bluegrass album, I added fiddler Brian Beken and mandolinist Kym Warner. They're half my age and just fantastic players."

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