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The Rose Hotel

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Editors’ Notes

Though Robert Earl Keen is considered a leading practitioner of “alt-country,” that only goes to show the irony of the music world in 2009. Keen and many of his fellow “alt” brethren are hardly performing anything near an “alternative” to country music. But where Nashville and mainstream country music in 2009 often puts its emphasis on big, rock-like guitars and larger than life stage shows, songwriters like Robert Earl Keen, with producer Lloyd Maines, break out the lap and pedal steel guitars and let their country twang tell stories of people who live complicated lives. Townes Van Zandt’s “Flyin’ Shoes” features a modest rock-guitar drive amidst its forlorn pedal steel guitars. “Throwin’ Rocks” maintains a tough rock shuffle. Billy Bob Thornton guests for the joke tune “10,000 Chinese Walk Into a Bar.” Keen’s trademark stories and pathos comes through with “On and On,” “Village Inn,” “Wireless In Heaven” and the title track, where mandolins, fiddles, banjos, and accordions further things along.

Customer Reviews

Not one of REK's Better Efforts

I am a huge fan of REK and I eagerly await any new release he puts out, and typically they do not disappoint. That said, I was surprisingly dissapointed with "The Rose Hotel." This just doesn't seem spirited. Somehow this recording seems washed out, hollow. And it is not the old familiar hollow of REK. This seems lackluster.

The highlights are the title track which is a solid, stand alone REK song. Village Inn is an alright effort, but the rest lack the punch and profound lyrics of REK from such times as "Gringo Honeymoon" and "What I Really Mean."

Robert, I love ya my man, but this albm isn't one of your better efforts.

Another Great Recording From REK!!!!!

REK just keeps putting out great recordings and this one won't disappoint!!!

Forgettable

As the elder statesman of authentic Texas country music, the standards and expectations for REK are high (in part, established by his finest previous work). However, this CD is marginal, at best. As a true REK fan, I found several songs that were reminders of his greatness. Others, were completely self-indulgent. When someone is capable of so much better, why he settled on this assortment is beyond me. Heres hoping that the next CD, no matter how long we wait, will be a return to form for the once great REK.

Biography

Born: January 11, 1956 in Houston, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Among the large contingent of talented songwriters who emerged in Texas in the 1980s and '90s, Robert Earl Keen struck an unusual balance between sensitive story-portraits ("Corpus Christi Bay") and raucous barroom fun ("That Buckin' Song"). These two song types in Keen's output were unified by a mordant sense of humor that strongly influenced the early practitioners of what would become known as alternative country music. Keen, the son of an oil executive father and an attorney mother, was a native...
Full Bio