From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Various artists “Undone: A MusicFest Tribute to Robert Earl Keen (Thirty Tigers)
Top performers on the Red Dirt music scene pay fitting and entertaining homage to influential Texas songwriter Robert Earl Keen on the two-disc tribute “Undone.”
Recorded live in 2008 at the MusicFest Americana festival in Steamboat, Colo., the album features Jason Boland, Cody Canada, Randy Rogers and more performing a variety of Keen’s songs. The album runs the gamut from tender ballads to heartbreaking yarns to raucous drinking songs.
Reckless Kelly gets the tribute off to a rocking start with “Think It Over One Time,” former Oklahoman Canada compellingly spins the cautionary tale “Shades of Gray,” and Boland, another former Okie, effectively relates the sad story of “Mariano.” Dub Miller works an engaging real-life yarn about Lyle Lovett and the famed Dixie Chicken bar into “Front Porch Song.”
Keen’s richly detailed songwriting shines on Max Stalling’s cover of “No Kinda Dancer,” Wade Bowen’s “Flynnville Train” and Darren Kozelsky’s “Corpus Christie Bay.”
The album at times seems a bit too reverential and not quite rowdy enough. It gets a welcome boost of energy when Keen and his band take the stage at the end. Their five-track set includes the new song “Goodbye Cleveland” and a rollicking 12-minute version of the party anthem “The Road Goes on Forever,” featuring Canada on guitar.