14 Songs, 47 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

A former newspaper writer and English major from Texas A&M, Robert Earl Keen turned his talents to songwriting in the early ‘80s. After gigging around Austin for a few years he released No Kinda Dancer, his debut LP for the bluegrass label Sugar Hill. Keen learned his craft from a cadre of elder Texas songwriters like Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, and Terry Allen, who merged the simple delivery of folk music with outlandish imagery and abnormal visions of Lone Star culture. Thankfully, No Kinda Dancer doesn’t fall victim to the cynicism and machismo that often plagued the music of the aforementioned artists. Keen can tell a hard-bitten tale and he uses his reedy, rusty voice to great effect, but his songs are marked by sweetness and vulnerability. “No Kinda Dancer” and “Song for Kathy” offer heartfelt gratitude to giving women. Keen is Texan through and through — just check out the anthemic “Front Porch Song,” co-written with Keen’s neighbor Lyle Lovett — but No Kinda Dancer offers a new template for the dusty troubadour.

EDITORS’ NOTES

A former newspaper writer and English major from Texas A&M, Robert Earl Keen turned his talents to songwriting in the early ‘80s. After gigging around Austin for a few years he released No Kinda Dancer, his debut LP for the bluegrass label Sugar Hill. Keen learned his craft from a cadre of elder Texas songwriters like Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, and Terry Allen, who merged the simple delivery of folk music with outlandish imagery and abnormal visions of Lone Star culture. Thankfully, No Kinda Dancer doesn’t fall victim to the cynicism and machismo that often plagued the music of the aforementioned artists. Keen can tell a hard-bitten tale and he uses his reedy, rusty voice to great effect, but his songs are marked by sweetness and vulnerability. “No Kinda Dancer” and “Song for Kathy” offer heartfelt gratitude to giving women. Keen is Texan through and through — just check out the anthemic “Front Porch Song,” co-written with Keen’s neighbor Lyle Lovett — but No Kinda Dancer offers a new template for the dusty troubadour.

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