Sunday, August 28, 2011

I am Ready For Confetti

 Hurricane Irene had me trapped in the house for the last two days. I spent most of this time listening to the great new album from Robert Earl Keen. This fine record broke me out of the blog-lock that has been hanging on me for many moons. Good music will do that.

 Ready For Confetti is the 16th album of Robert Earl Keen's prolific career. Like his last two outstanding albums, What I Really Mean (2005) and Rose Hotel (2009), the record is a great mix of original songs and well-selected covers.  Confetti was produced by Lloyd Maines who also produced Rose Hotel. It includes 10 Keen originals, including a remake of my all time favorite REK song, Paint the Town Beige which was first released on Bigger Piece of Sky (1993).

With the title track, I Gotta Go, Show the World, and Waves on the Ocean, Robert continues to solidify his position as one the best songwriter from the great state of Texas. Like all great songwriters, he has an incredible ability to take vignettes from every day life and write them into songs that paint pictures in your mind.

I first heard the song Ready For Confetti a few months ago and it has been stuck in my head ever since. With it’s catchy lyrics, Rich’s jet engine solo and great background singing, it’s a winner. Not sure if it has to do with REK’s annual trip to Key West Songwriters Festival, but I hear a little calypso/reggae influence in this and Waves on the Ocean. Waves is probably my next favorite on the disk. It is another catchy tune with beautiful lyrics. 

People who know Robert say that you never want to cross him or you might end up in one of his songs. It has happened in the past and with The Road goes On and On it happened again. Toby Keith was obviously not paying attention in third grade when the teacher explained plagiarism. Most REK fans who heard his Bullets in the Gun thought it sounded a lot like The Road Goes On Forever. Guess Robert did too. I don't think he liked it.

Robert has had good luck covering songs by James McMurtry and others. With Play a Train Song, he has taken a great song by his good friend and excellent songwriter Todd Snider and made it his own. It's one of my favorites on the record.

Robert Earl Keen is best known for his energetic live shows. By touring for years with his band of great musicians, he has earned a loyal following. Night after night, his fans are rewarded with well-played songs from his catalogue mixed with tasty covers of songs from James McMurtry, Greg Brown, and Todd Snider. Great material played by a band that really works together.

 Every REK show is a chance for the fans to sing along, drink a few cold beers, and chant ROBERT EARL KEEN in unison.  Each night ends with his signature anthem The Road Goes on Forever. It is a great closer, an opportunity for the band to stretch out and send everyone home happy.

That said, I strongly believe that ultimately Robert's career will be defined by his songwriting. With each album, he continues to add to his impressive catalogue. Ready For Confetti is another step forward. Available tomorrow on iTunes and from Amazon. Pick it up.


  1. Hey William,

    I noticed you put the Knickerbocker Cafe on your list of links. Any chance you can convince Robert and others from Austin and surrounds to make regular stops there and other joints in New England? We need more Texas music up here.

  2. Saw REK in Memphis recently, had a ticket to the Ryman show but work interfered.....glad you are back on the blog...enjoy your insight.

    EE Lawson