12 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Bigger Piece of the Sky was a breakthrough album for Robert Earl Keen, and it is still considered his masterpiece by many fans. Here Keen moves beyond his folk/bluegrass roots and embraces the attitude and instrumentation of rock music. To aid this transition he hired several high profile players, including bassist Garry Tallent (from the E Street Band) and George Marinelli (of Bruce Hornsby & The Range). There is Tom Petty-esque rock in “Wherever Kindness Falls,” and roadhouse uproar in “Amarillo Highway.” But Keen is still a folkie at heart, and he saves his best sentiments for “Paint the Town Beige.” The reading of Terry Allen’s “Amarillo Highway” shows Keen’s love for subverting Texas stereotypes, but Bigger Piece of the Sky also contains some of his best pure country songs, including “Corpus Christi Bay,” “Jesse With the Long Hair” and the understated Western Swing of “Daddy Had a Buick.” Anyone who thinks Keen is “alternative” country should listen to “Crazy Cowboy Dream,” a beautifully wrought folk song that could easily be a hit if George Strait ever decided to sing it.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Bigger Piece of the Sky was a breakthrough album for Robert Earl Keen, and it is still considered his masterpiece by many fans. Here Keen moves beyond his folk/bluegrass roots and embraces the attitude and instrumentation of rock music. To aid this transition he hired several high profile players, including bassist Garry Tallent (from the E Street Band) and George Marinelli (of Bruce Hornsby & The Range). There is Tom Petty-esque rock in “Wherever Kindness Falls,” and roadhouse uproar in “Amarillo Highway.” But Keen is still a folkie at heart, and he saves his best sentiments for “Paint the Town Beige.” The reading of Terry Allen’s “Amarillo Highway” shows Keen’s love for subverting Texas stereotypes, but Bigger Piece of the Sky also contains some of his best pure country songs, including “Corpus Christi Bay,” “Jesse With the Long Hair” and the understated Western Swing of “Daddy Had a Buick.” Anyone who thinks Keen is “alternative” country should listen to “Crazy Cowboy Dream,” a beautifully wrought folk song that could easily be a hit if George Strait ever decided to sing it.

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