Robert Earl Keen
Farm Fresh Onions (Audium)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Oct. 10, 2003
Robert Earl KeenFarm Fresh Onions (Audium) Farm Fresh Onions is Robert Earl Keen's 10th album, and the songwriter's debut for Nashville's Audium label. The fact that his last three releases have appeared on three different labels doesn't seem to have had any effect on his music, however. Long gone are the days when Keen would sit down with just an acoustic guitar and hold an audience in the palm of his hand. That's apparent here, where his band plays as much a part of the music's success as the songs themselves. This is especially true on songs like the revved up "Train Trek" and the grungy Southern rock of "Beats the Devil." Keen's longtime guitar player Rich Brotherton is developing quite a résumé as a producer as evidenced by his work here and on the latest from Caroline Herring. Brotherton's touch is relatively light, which is to say Farm Fresh Onions sounds the way you'd expect an REK disc to sound, and in most people's eyes that's sure to be a good thing. He continues to symbolize the best of Texas music; appealing stories told colorfully and with a sly wink, put across with music that's powerful and engaging. Songs like "All I Have Is Today" and "Let the Music Play" could've been written years ago, which is to say that anyone who thinks it's time to put Keen out to pasture might want to pay attention. Again.