“Quitting the road doesn’t mean I’m dead, and it doesn’t mean I’m going to quit producing stuff,” reiterates Americana legend and model Texan Robert Earl Keen. He did retire from touring in September of last year, but his new release Western Chill finds the songwriter alive and well and, seemingly, very relaxed. And while Keen is still making public appearances—he was just officially honored on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives and popped into Dallas’s newly reopened Longhorn Ballroom to play a tune with Old Crow Medicine Show—Western Chill makes it very apparent that retirement suits him. For most artists, dropping an album of fourteen new songs would be enough, but, proven time and time again, Keen isn’t most artists.
Currently, the only way to hear Western Chill is to purchase the entire box set, and thankfully, the box set is where it’s at. Including a 92-page graphic novel inspired by the album, a play-along/sing-along songbook for all fourteen songs, and a DVD of the Robert Earl Keen Band performing the entire new album at Keen’s Snake Barn studio space, the only thing “chill” about the release is the songs themselves. For the foreseeable future there will be no download or streaming links, so fans are encouraged to dive into the entirety of Western Chill the way it was intended: kick back, crack a cold one, sing along, and enjoy the vibe.
Pre-sales are over, but fans can now purchase Keen’s Western Chill package for immediate delivery at this link and don’t forget to stay up to date—rumor has it, REK has already finished another record—at robertearlkeen.com.
Western Chill In The News:
The Wall Street Journal sang high praises for Western Chill, summing the release up as such: “In total, the sounds and sights Mr. Keen and band have concocted and assembled in this box work as road maps toward getting happily de-stressed and deliberately lost—for the audience, too. The set concedes, subtly but truly, that working on the road can’t actually go on forever, and that every party, despite what the familiar lyrics suggest, ends. The music and good-natured humor, though—those can keep right on coming.”
Rolling Stone excited readers for Keen’s release of Western Chill and the “whole batch of extra goodies to accompany it.”
Garden & Gun premiered Western Chill’s title track, writing of the album, “Despite its size (and very laidback vibe), the project is not a swan song or a retirement notice. Quite the contrary. Less time on the road leads to more time in the studio—and the Snake Barn. Expect Keen’s next album, which he says is already all but finished, to push the limits even further.”
Western Chill Tracklist:
Blue Light (feat. Bill Whitbeck)
Waves (feat. Brian Beken)
Hello Stranger (feat. Kym Warner)
The City (feat. Brian Beken)
Bone and Flowers (feat. Bill Whitbeck)
Sweet Summer Rain
Mister Mockingbird (feat. Bill Whitbeck)
Mr. Blues on the Run