Robert Earl Keen with Grayson Capps
Presented by Ardenland, WUSM 88.5, Stokes Distributing, and visitHATTIESBURG
“The road goes on forever ...”
It’s not always easy to sum up a career — let alone a life’s ambition — so succinctly, but those five words from Robert Earl Keen’s calling-card anthem just about do it. You can complete the lyric with the next five words — the ones routinely shouted back at Keen by thousands of fans a night (“and the party never ends!”) — just to punctuate the point with a flourish, but it’s the part about the journey that gets right to the heart of what makes Keen tick. Some people take up a life of playing music with the goal of someday reaching a destination of fame and fortune; but from the get-go, Keen just wanted to write and sing his own songs, and to keep writing and singing them for as long as possible. “I always thought that I wanted to play music, and I always knew that you had to get some recognition in order to continue to play music,” Keen says. “But I never thought of it in terms of getting to be a big star. I thought of it in terms of having a really, really good career and writing some good songs, and getting onstage and having a really good time.” Now three-decades on from the release of his debut album — with well over a dozen other records to his name, thousands of shows under his belt and still no end in sight to the road ahead — Keen remains as committed to and inspired by his muse as ever. And as for accruing recognition, well, he’s done alright on that front, too; from his humble beginnings on the Texas folk scene, he’s blazed a peer, critic, and fan-lauded trail that’s earned him living-legend (not to mention pioneer) status in the Americana music world. And though the Houston native has never worn his Texas heart on his sleeve, he’s long been regarded as one of the Lone Star State’s finest (not to mention top-drawing) true singer-songwriters. He was still a relative unknown in 1989 when his second studio album, West Textures, was released — especially on the triple bill he shared at the time touring with legends Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark — but once fellow Texas icon Joe Ely recorded both “The Road Goes on Forever” and “Whenever Kindness Fails” on his 1993 album, Love and Danger, the secret was out on Keen’s credentials as a songwriter’s songwriter. By the end of the decade, Keen was a veritable household name in Texas, headlining a millennial New Year’s Eve celebration in Austin that drew an estimated 200,000 people. Keen has continued to write, record, and tour across the nation. In 2001 he released Gravitational Forces, followed by Farm Fresh Onions (2003), What I Really Mean (2005) The Rose Hotel (2009) and 2011’s Ready for Confetti . In 2012, he was inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame along with the late, great Van Zandt and his old college buddy, Lyle Lovett.
Grayson Capps is relaxed. You can hear it in the tone of his voice when he speaks, in the thoughtful, laconic way he reflects on the sometimes-tumultuous course of his life and work. It’s not the sound of complacency or comfort, but rather of personal growth and understanding. Capps is not without worry or darkness in his life, but he’s reached a kind of peace with it, an unhurried acceptance that enables him to write with unflinching honesty and remarkable humanity. His long-awaited new solo album, ‘Scarlett Roses,’ is his first in six years, and it showcases the kind of understated brilliance that can blossom when creativity is detached from expectation, when songs are truly given the space and time to find their writer.
Doors open at 7:00pm. Show starts at 8:00pm.
*To choose seats from a map please use a laptop or desktop to purchase**No refunds**This is a live performance**No outside food and beverage*