From Favorite Sweaters to Texas Shit-Kicker Accents | Sound Stories & Interviews | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
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From Favorite Sweaters to Texas Shit-Kicker Accents 

Robert Earl Keen returns

Bend can put another feather in her cap: Award-winning singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen digs the Bend fashion scene.

"I love Bend," Keen says. "I bought my favorite sweater in Bend. It is a really good sweater."

No more description is offered, but who knows, perhaps said sweater just may be the subject of the hit song Keen is hoping to concoct for himself. (He wrote the song "West Texas Town" for George Strait's Grammy-winning album Troubadour, among many, many others.)

"My songs are all visual; I write lyrics from pictures and themes," says Keen. "I write most of my songs by myself, but lately I have had great fun writing with people. It is not difficult to write a song, but writing a good song is magic. I write a lot of good songs that people remember. If you can get people to hum or sing a song—that is better than any chart topper."

As for the content of the show coming up on Saturday at the Century Center, Keen assures, "People will see my songs in a whole different light. This is not the show they saw the last time I was in Bend."

He will play with fellow long-time singer-songwriter Steve Earle.

"Steve Earle and I are pals," says Keen. "I am a huge admirer and fan of his music. Don't go see Elton John and Billy Joel, they are fake friends—save your money. We are real friends."

For a Texan, Keen actually talks fairly quickly, with a deep, warm yet sometimes rough drawl. Keen's unique accent was actually emulated by Bradley Cooper in preparation for Cooper's role in American Sniper.

"He was trying to do a Texas shit-kicker accent," Keen says. "I thought about putting out a YouTube video on how to speak Texas shit-kicker."

Keen's recent album Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions is his 19th album, in which he covers 28 bluegrass classics (pared down from an original list of 100) the way he wants them to sound.

But Keen is ready to be writing his own songs again, and the sky's the limit.

"I don't know if it is going to be full-blown rock or using a dulcimer," he says.

Steve Earle and the Dukes with Robert Earl Keen

5 pm, Saturday, June 27

Century Center, 70 SW Century Dr.

$40

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