No Depression: Robert Earl Keen Follows a Laidback Trail on ‘Western Chill’

While Robert Earl Keen may be officially retired from touring, Western Chill makes it quite clear he’s not retired from writing songs and making music.

Western Chill tracks the travels of a troubadour who’s not heading off into the sunset but who’s heading to the cool climes of laying back and enjoying the scenes of life as they unfold before him. These songs provide the soundtrack for chillin’. The Robert Keen Band — Bill Whitbeck on bass, Kym Warner on mandolin, and Brian Beken on fiddle — joins Keen on this excursion. Robert Earl Keen in pink shirt and jeans stands against a brick wall holding a white cowboy hat Robert Earl Keen (photo by Melanie Nashan)

The title track opens the album, setting the tone for the entire journey. The track meanders lazily along with an airy jazz syncopation, blending early ’60s pop with Western swing and slack-key Hawaiian rhythms. Every musician gets a chance to stretch out on the song’s instrumental bridge.

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