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Robert Earl Keen is off the road, but the party hasn't ended yet

Robert Earl Keen started playing music as a student at Texas A&M, picking and singing on his front porch with his buddy Lyle Lovett.

Photo by Melanie Maganias Nashan

He's known for Americana classics like “The Road Goes On Forever” and “Merry Christmas From the Family,” but he was especially beloved for his live shows.

He spent some 40 years on the road before retiring as a touring act last September.

But he hasn’t retired from making music. He’s got a new record out called “Western Chill,” and it’s quite a package: a double album, a live DVD, a songbook so people can play along and a graphic novel that tells the story of a wandering troubadour much like Keen himself.

We talked about how “Western Chill” came about, the disasters of his final tour, and the place where he goes when it’s time to write more songs. If you’ve listened to his music, you know Robert Earl Keen is a hell of a storyteller.

Robert Earl Keen songs in this episode:

  • "Western Chill"
  • "The Road Goes On Forever"
  • "Merry Christmas From the Family"
  • "I'm Comin' Home"
Tommy Tomlinson has hosted the podcast SouthBound for WFAE since 2017. He also does a commentary, On My Mind, which airs every Monday.