Legendary singer/songwriter Robert Earl Keen is an icon of Texas Music. Credit: Courtesy / Darren Carroll

You can tell when December rolls around.
That’s the time Robert Earl Keen comes to town.
He brings his Christmas from the Fam-O-Lee Show. 
It has everything but a can of fake snow.

Keen, best known for his hit, “The Road Goes on Forever,” will present his seasonal celebration at the Aztec Theatre on Dec. 17.

His concerts across the Southwest keep him occupied this time of year – but not too busy to agree to an interview with the Rivard Report Nov. 22.

“I’ve been on the road a lot lately,” he said. “I just did 50 dates with Lyle Lovett. I’ve been too busy – even to go hunting.”

In 1996, Keen recorded No. 2 Live Dinner at Floore’s Country Store in Helotes. At the time, he had no way of knowing it would become a bestseller. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of that record, Keen returned to the scene and made a new recording.

“We released Live Dinner Reunion last week,” he said. “It was recorded in 2015 at John T. Floore’s Country Store. It has songs with Lyle Lovett, Bruce Robison, Joe Ely and others.”

Robert Earl Keen, photographed in Kerrville, Texas on July 4 2016.
Robert Earl Keen, photographed in Kerrville, Texas on July 4 2016. Credit: Courtesy / Darren Carroll

Keen is a raconteur in story and song. During a speech at the Briscoe Western Art Museum last June, he shared his thoughts on the creative process.

“That was part of the Voices of the West: Distinguished Lecture Series,” he said. “And that was a one-time event. I did deliver the convocation speech at Schreiner University in Kerrville in 2011,” he added.

Some artists have a creative spell when the muse visits. It’s different with Keen.

“I’m always writing songs,” he said. “I basically write one song at a time.”

At his concert at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in 2014, the stage was set for a 1970’s Christmas. In 2015, Keen paid homage to iconic country legends.

“This year, we’re doing the Country Gold Jamboree. We’ll have new costumes and a new persona,” he said. “Joel Guzman and his wife will be guest stars.”

Grammy Award-winning accordionist and singer Joel Guzman and his wife, Sarah Fox, blend Tejano, conjunto, and other Latin flavors with jazz, blues, country, gospel, folk, and rock.

People label Keen’s music as folk, country, bluegrass, and rock – they call it Americana. Keen has released about 20 albums over the past three decades.

In 2012, Keen was inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame. Last year, he received the Troubadour Award from BMI.

Find out why on Dec. 17.

“This will be my first time at the Aztec Theatre,” he said. “Get your tickets early. This show is going to sell out.”

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Don Mathis

Don’s life revolves around the many poetry circles in San Antonio. His poems have been published in many anthologies and periodicals and broadcasted on local TV and national radio. In addition to poetry,...