Robert Earl Keen — Feel-good Story

‘… the singer secured a second mortgage on his home to continue to pay his four band members. “I felt like it was my moral obligation to do everything I could to keep everything going,” says Keen… What Keen did to help his band certainly stands out but actually what he did decades ago was pretty peculiar as well. He set up his band like a business. Offering what most artists don’t. “Insurance and they had a regular salary that they could depend on. There were also bonuses and I had a retirement plan and those have all been in place about 20 years,” Keen explains and all of those things continued even through COVID.’

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The first time REK played the HLS&R it was the early Saturday show. Maybe half filled but all the cowboys and cowgirls showed up.

They came on stage and it looked weird. They all had their pants stuffed into their boots.

They opened with Gringo Honeymoon and right into the middle of the song, the power went out. The audience kept singing and when the power came on, they picked it up from the audience. My wife, not a REK fan was amazed.

REK then talked about sneaking into the rodeo as a kid and making it in about a third of the time. He said “they really treat the performers well. Look! They even gave us new boots!” Hence the reason for stuffing their pants into their boots.

Fun show.


Is that when he played with Cross Canadian Ragweed? If so, I was there. I don’t think I remember the power going out but maybe vaguely.

No, just REK alone at the 11:00am show. Back when HLS&R had doubleheaders on Saturday

Gotcha. I saw him in the mid 2000s with CCR. This is when they were really popular in the Texas country scene and a lot of people bailed when REK came out (CCR opened for REK).

As much as I liked CCR, I felt old (was in early 20s) thinking about the disrespect for a legend.

More about the demographics of the Rodeo

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I believe the Grateful Dead set themselves up that way as well back in the 80’s (or maybe before?)

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