Undone: A Musicfest Tribute to Robert Earl Keen
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Jan. 23, 2009
Undone: A Musicfest Tribute to Robert Earl Keen(Right Ave.)
Robert Earl Keen as the "father" of the Texas/Red Dirt Music scene makes plenty of sense, so Undone, a double-disc tribute by some of that scene's leading lights, was inevitable. No matter how big a Keen fan you are, it's where you stand on artists such as Wade Bowen, Jason Boland, Randy Rogers, Cody Canada, and the other 18 that appear here that will go a long way on deciding your appreciation for the proceedings, recorded live in Colorado, January 2008. There are outstanding tracks, but the mostly acoustic performances manage to consistently miss the guts of what Keen's writing about, while also losing most of his melodies. Honorary Texan Chris Knight's title track cover digs deep, and Brandon Rhyder's "Carolina" is starkly affecting. The second disc is rescued somewhat by five songs from Keen and his band, including the drowsy new "Goodbye Cleveland."