Search - Robert Earl Keen :: Picnic

Robert Earl Keen
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

Compared to Willie Nelson or Butch Hancock, Keen fits squarely in the second rank of Texas songwriters, but even a relatively slick work like Picnic is better than the bulk of what's produced these days in Nashville. Noth...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Robert Earl Keen
Title: Picnic
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: RCA
Original Release Date: 4/29/1997
Release Date: 4/29/1997
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop, Rock
Styles: Americana, Outlaw Country, Contemporary Folk, Singer-Songwriters, Folk Rock, Singer-Songwriters, Country Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
Other Editions: Picnic
UPCs: 078221883429, 078221883443, 743219554727

Compared to Willie Nelson or Butch Hancock, Keen fits squarely in the second rank of Texas songwriters, but even a relatively slick work like Picnic is better than the bulk of what's produced these days in Nashville. Nothing here approaches the knockout wit of Keen's "Merry Christmas from the Family," but "Shades of Gray," the story of small-town criminals almost arrested for a robbery they didn't commit, and "Then Came Lo Mein," about a guy uncorking a lifetime of frustration during a cheap Chinese dinner, are both examples of Lone Star storytelling at its best. --Keith Moerer

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CD Reviews

Great Music for Long Drives on I-20
Hwed | Delaware | 10/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"My favorite thing about Robert Earl Keen is that he puts the heart and soul back in country music, if you can even call this country. It's a Texas thing, and one with no real genre. But anyway, it's dadgum fine stuff.One of Keen's better efforts, Picnic is a mix of depression, desperation, longing, and regret. Good music for when you're feelin' down, just pop this in and let it rip, sing along at the top of your lungs.Keen brings you down with "Oh Rosie's" relentless waltz tempo and mournful lyrics, you feel alone with "I Wonder Where My Baby is Tonight" and regret every botched relationship to "Forth of July" and "Over the Waterfall." And you love every minute of it. These songs are absolutely fantastic, immensely catchy, and you'll find yourself hitting repeat again and again.Contrasted against the mostly blue music on this disc are "Coming Home of the Son and Brother" and "Runnin' with the Night," two songs that make you want to roll down the windows and put the pedal to the floor.If you like Keen, you've got to have this. If you haven't tried Keen, this is as good a place as any to start. Just be ready to buy the other nine albums. :)"
Matthew Parks | DURHAM, NC USA | 04/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"PICNIC was Robert Earl Keen's 1st new studio record after leaving his longtime label Sugar Hill, for the greener ($$$) pastures of a major label. Though some of the homey, folky intimacy of Keen's early records is lost, it is made up for with newfound confidence and fullness of sound that manifests itself as a multi-layered, multi-dimensional, somewhat more alt. rock-ish sound.Although primarily noted as a songwriter, an often-overlooked aspect of Keen's talent is his gift for interpreting other writer's material. Terry Allen's "Amarillo Highway," for example, on BIGGER PIECE OF THE SKY, and his definitive rendition of the Steve Earle-penned "Tom Ames' Prayer" from GRINGO HONEYMOON. On PICNIC, Keen again shows his gift for making other folks' songs his own on James McMurtry's classic of Texas topography "Levelland," and a somber take on Dave Alvin's brilliant-but-neglected gem "Fourth of July." Far be it from Keen to rely on other guys' material to get him through an album, though. Keen is at his story-telling best on "Undone," "Oh, Rosie," and "Shades and Gray," and Margo Timmins (the talented vocalist from the Cowboy Junkies) lends some additional vocal color to the equally impressive "Over the Waterfall" and "Then Came Lo Mein.""
This one wins them all over
V. Gelczis | Bay Area, CA USA | 10/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Although I've tried to spread the gospel of REK for years with my friends, many were not converted (No. 2 Live Dinner did the trick for a few). Too much "yuck, yuck, pluck, pluck" for some, although the funny songs are what drew me in at first. I stayed for the depth of his songwriting skills.This album seems to pull in even the most sophisticated listeners. I find that this collection (and the subsequent "Walking Distance") showcase both REK's amazing songwriting skills and musical eclecticism. He always picks strong songs to cover, and here he blows us away with James McMurtry's "Levelland" and Dave Alvin's "4th of July." But the originals are the real powerhouse here, from the sweet solemnity of "I Wonder Where My Baby is Tonight" to the anthemic pleading of "Oh Rosie" to the instant-classic "Shades of Gray." And we even get our yucks in the comic yet poignant "Then Came Lo Mein."I don't mind that REK didn't use his usual band for a lot of the songs. I've got all the other albums when I want to hear the band. I think it's great to hear his music showcased in this way--with the beautiful vocal backings of Margo Timmins and some hot licks by the multi-talented Tim O'Brien.If someone's told you to check out Robert Earl Keen, by all means, give "Picnic" a listen. Then get yourself "No. 2 Live Dinner" to find out the story behind the picture on the cover of "Picnic." After that, you'll probably be buying the catalog..."