Robert Earl Keen – Boulder Theater, CO

One part singer-songwriter and one part honky-tonk mixed together create the sound exclusive to Robert Earl Keen.

His show is everything you’d expect after listening to Todd Snider’s accounts in “Beer Run” and everything you didn’t expect after pondering khaki pants.

With the local Unknown Americans as an opener (check them out), REK managed to pack the Boulder Theater.

He came out and said they were “mighty proud to be here” before starting the show.


Robert introduced the band. Marty Muse on pedal steel, Bill Whitbeck on bass guitar, Tom Van Schaik on drums and Rich Brotherton on guitars.

Whenever Kindness Fails

Blow You Away

Broken End of Love

He said, “Nice looking crowd. That’s for coming out!”

The Buckin’ Song

Shades of Grey

Amarillo Highway

Corpus Christi Bay

Furnace Fan

For Love

If I Were King

Dreadful Selfish Crime

He reintroduced the band, said it was “nice to be with you this evening” and the band left.

This Old Porch

During which he said that he was “wrote this song with my friend Lyle Lovett on the porch of my house on Church St. across from the Dixie Chicken.” He laughed that more people had been to the Dixie Chicken than church, but it was located across the street from Texas A&M, and it was a long time ago and he couldn’t remember how he ended up there.

He launched into a story about Fred Duckenworth and he was driving though around and asked him where he was going to school and he got some snuff spit spilled all over his new Wrangler jeans while Fred was driving and he thought it was a sign. He continued saying how there are a lot of Aggie jokes and they’re “funny, funny jokes. Three Aggies walk into a building, you think one of them would notice.” He said there are “gillions of ’em” and continued talking about how they’d play all the traditional old-time country songs, like “Rascall Flatts and Bryan White.” He said something about Leanne Rimes and how she used to open her door to anyone before she was famous. He added that he had to make this apology because “although Texans know everything about everything they don’t know shit about bluegrass.” He said it was ok though because their hearts were in the right place.

This story morphed into talking about other Texans, Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark. He said that one of the first times he was in Boulder was when he was with Townes and Guy and he was so happy to be a part of the show but he “felt like I was a puppy” and they we’re patting him on the head saying “let him play a song, dammit.” He talked about how they had a ton of records and he only had one but he talked them into going to do an in-store appearance at the store up the street by agreeing to find them some barbecue. He asked if anyone remembered the store’s name (to which everyone started shouting things) and he said “it’s something like that.”

The story continued to talking about how the only person who came had just come from a deli and they only thing they had to sign was a bagel, so Robert signed the bagel and Townes and Guy never did anything else he wanted to do.

I Would Change My Life

Rolling By

He introduced the band once more, saying that Marty grew up in Chicago but was originally from Spokane, Washington and that Bill lives in San Marcos and there’s a tea shop there and that Rich was a distinguished alum of Colorado College.

Wild Wind

The Great Hank

He then told a story about how he and Bill had written this next song because they’d never written a train song before.


Feelin’ Good Again

Gringo Honeymoon


He said, “Thanks a lot, we really appreciate it.” He also added that he’d be where the merch was and that he’d be signing anything later on.

Something about “Goodbye Cleveland.”

Road Goes Of Forever

He thanked everyone again, introduced the band, again and said thanks to the sound guy.

I’m Coming Home

Tangled Up In Blue

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Photos by Nichole Wagner

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