Robert Earl Keen
"The road goes on forever ..." It's not always easy to sum up a career - let alone a life's ambition - so succinctly, but those five words from Robert Earl Keen's calling-card anthem just about do it. You can complete the lyric with the next five words - the ones routinely shouted back at Keen by thousands of fans a night ("and the party never ends!") - just to punctuate the point with a flourish, but it's the part about the journey that gets right to the heart of what makes Keen tick. Some people take up a life of playing music with the goal of someday reaching a destination of fame and fortune; but from the get-go, Keen just wanted to write and sing his own songs, and to keep writing and singing them for as long as possible. "I always thought that I wanted to play music, and I always knew that you had to get some recognition in order to continue to play music," Keen says. "But I never thought of it in terms of getting to be a big star. I thought of it in terms of having a really, really good career and writing some good songs, and getting onstage and having a really good time." Now three-decades on from the release of his debut album - with eighteen other records to his name, thousands of shows under his belt and still no end in sight to the road ahead - Keen remains as committed to and inspired by his muse as ever. And as for accruing recognition, well, he's done alright on that front, too; from his humble beginnings on the Texas folk scene, he's blazed a peer, critic, and fan-lauded trail that's earned him living-legend (not to mention pioneer) status in the Americana music world. And though the Houston native has never worn his Texas heart on his sleeve, he's long been regarded as one of the Lone Star State's finest (not to mention top-drawing) true singer-songwriters.
Adam Wright has written thousands of songs by now – some for country music’s reigning legends, including Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and Lee Ann Womack ; some for he and his wife’s duo, The Wrights; and then there are others that he’s written for himself. Releasing today, Dust compiles 11 of those songs. The album pleads with listeners to take time and think about what they are listening to – for those who do, it provides an in-depth look at carefully crafted songwriting; the kind where each detail is placed with precision and honed with a fine-toothed comb. To create Dust, Wright entered the minds of his characters and wrote from their perspectives. Imaginary people navigate dramatic situations, often darker in nature. "It was more like writing short stories, a slower, more deliberate process,” Wright told Billboard . “I researched topics for weeks before I would actually turn them into songs. I'd never written like that. I just kept following that thread until I felt like I had an album." The 11 songs on Dust have many layers and encompass everything from death to broken dreams to complicated Southern roots.