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A MusicFest Tribute to Robert Earl Keen

Review By Steven Stone
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  Texas born and bred singer/songwriterRobert Earl has influenced a passel of younger performers during his thirty-year career. On Undone: A MusicFest Tribute to Robert Earl Keen we have an opportunity to hear how these young'uns interpret some of his best material. Recorded live at MusicFest, which is held every year in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, these live tracks capture the fire and excitement of young musicians exploring new territory. Organized by Dickson Productions in collaboration with The Center for Texas Musical History located at Texas State University, Undone features Robert Earl Keen compositions performed by Reckless Kelly, Jason Boland, Chris Knight, Muzzie Braun, Bonnie Bishop, Matt Skinner, Walt Wilkins, and other young artists. And as if this weren't enough, it finishes with five cuts done by Keen himself.

Identifying the standout performances from among the twenty-seven selections on this double album set is a daunting task. My personal favorites are Reckless Kelly's rendition of "Think It Over One Time," Walt Wilkins' "Paint The Town Beige," and Matt Powell's "Travelin' Light." Unlike many anthologies you'll be hard-pressed to find a selection that doesn't measure up, and I suspect that everyone will find multiple favorites to bond with.

Hearing Keen perform his own songs is always a treat. For hardcore fans he includes a brand-new and previously unrecorded song, "Goodnight Cleveland." The final selection on this double CD set, a twelve-minute live rendition of "The Road Goes On Forever," is worth the entire cost of the album. Cody Canada's jivey scat-sung banjo-guitar solo takes this performance to a whole new level of improvisational splendor.

I'm always somewhat suspicious when I'm informed that a portion of a CD's proceeds will benefit some worthy cause. In the case of Undone the worthy cause is the Center for Texas Music History. Judging by the quality of these live performances, history is already being made.















































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