Robert Earl Keen wrote his first 15 albums "like a Buddhist monk standing around in a cubicle," he said recently. His latest, "Get Ready for the Confetti," which Lost Highway released in August, came together more like "a truck driver lighting a cigarette in the wind."
Considering how much time the Texas troubadour's spent on the road in his 30-year career, that's a bit surprising. Maybe it's a reflection of some mid-life mellowing from Keen, who's 55. A lot of the songs on "Confetti," especially the title track, do have a breezy, driving-with-the-top-down quality.
Still, despite the shift in songwriting philosophy, Keen continues to speak to the happy misanthrope in all of us (his greatest hits comp, released several years back, was aptly called "The Party Never Ends: Songs You Know from the Times You Can't Remember"), with plenty of sly puns, dark narratives and love songs about people who can't stand still. In other words, you'll be happy to hear them next to "Amarillo Highway," "The Road Goes on Forever" and all his other songs you know by heart.
Cody Canada and the Departed open.