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An Evening With Robert Earl Keen

In conjunction with the Americana Music Association

Thirty years and 16 albums into an illustrious career, it would be impossible for Robert Earl Keen not to sound like himself. Since winning the 1983 New Folk songwriting award at Texas' prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival, he's carved a place for himself in the Lone Star pantheon of incisive, novelistic writers, alongside Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle and Guy Clark. With standout records such West Textures (1989), Picnic (1997) and Ready For Confetti (2011), as well as Texas standards such as "The Road Goes On Forever," "Feelin' Good Again" and "Merry Christmas From The Family," Keen has helped pave the way for the burgeoning Americana movement. And now, with the release of his latest album, Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions, Keen has proven himself a more than capable bluegrass singer. Kicking off with a boot-stomping version of Flatt & Scruggs' "Hot Corn, Cold Corn" and a revved-up, fiddle-driven take on Richard Thompson's "52 Vincent Black Lightning," Keen takes listeners on a 15-song ride (20 songs on the deluxe version) that embraces the many lyrical and musical colors in the bluegrass spectrum. There are prison songs ("99 Years For One Dark Day"), murder ballads for the guilty and innocent ("Poor Ellen Smith" and "Long Black Veil"),  tales of unrequited love (a lilting cover of the Carter Family's "East Virginia Blues"), gospel tunes ("This World Is Not My Home"), yodeling tunes (a duet with Lyle Lovett on Jimmie Rodgers' "T for Texas"), waltzes (the mournful "White Dove") and songs of country life (a take on Tommy Thompson's "Twisted Laurel"). And, of course, there are special nods to the father of bluegrass Bill Monroe ("Walls of Time" and the moving "Footprints In The Snow"). The album peaked at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Bluegrass Albums chart. In the midst of his U.S. tour in support of the album, the GRAMMY Museum welcomes Keen to the Clive Davis Theater as part of the Americana Series for an intimate performance and discussion surrounding his career and new album, moderated by Scott Goldman, Vice President of MusiCares and the GRAMMY Foundation. 

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