Travelin' Light - Robert Earl Keen, Jr., Case, Peter
Feelin' Good Again
That Buckin' Song
I'll Be Here for You
Billy Gray - Robert Earl Keen, Jr., Blake, Norman 
Theme: Road to No Return/Carolina
New Life in Old Mexico
Still Without You/Conclusion: Road to No Return
Happy Holiday Y'all [*]
After 1997's Picnic, an uneven attempt to cross over to the rock side of the alternative-country divide, this Bandera, Texas, singer-songwriter returns to sounds and themes closer to home. Brimming with fiddle, mandolin, a... more »nd slinky honky-tonk guitars, Keen's eighth album has the lyrical depth and humor of his best work. At the center is a four-song outlaw suite, beginning with Norman Blake's little-known gem "Billy Gray" and ending with the drifter's lament "Still Without You," in which Keen sings, "I climbed the mountains and I swept the plains / I crossed the border and I broke my chains / I walked the back roads till my shoes wore through / I'm still without you." And while the album closes with the bonus coda "Happy Holidays Y'All" (a hysterical sequel to his classic "Merry Christmas from the Family," presented in two giddy takes), Walking Distance finds Keen rediscovering the intense poetry of his Texas muse. --Roy Kasten« less
After 1997's Picnic, an uneven attempt to cross over to the rock side of the alternative-country divide, this Bandera, Texas, singer-songwriter returns to sounds and themes closer to home. Brimming with fiddle, mandolin, and slinky honky-tonk guitars, Keen's eighth album has the lyrical depth and humor of his best work. At the center is a four-song outlaw suite, beginning with Norman Blake's little-known gem "Billy Gray" and ending with the drifter's lament "Still Without You," in which Keen sings, "I climbed the mountains and I swept the plains / I crossed the border and I broke my chains / I walked the back roads till my shoes wore through / I'm still without you." And while the album closes with the bonus coda "Happy Holidays Y'All" (a hysterical sequel to his classic "Merry Christmas from the Family," presented in two giddy takes), Walking Distance finds Keen rediscovering the intense poetry of his Texas muse. --Roy Kasten
Wayne Cavanaugh (firstname.lastname@example.org) | Monmouth County, New Jersey | 12/21/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Robert Earl Keen's songs have often been about going places. From his classic The Road Goes On Forever to Gringo Honeymoon, his stories celebrate the journey. In Walking Distance, the journeys come from a soul who has picked up just a little more wisdom along the trail. Down the Dusty Trail sets it up beautifully with three little rite-of- passage vignettes. Feeling Good Again then describes a time when all those journeys crystalize and the world seems to make sense for just a moment. Of course, there's fun stuff too: The infectious That Bucking Song won't leave your head for a long time. Most ambitious, of course, is the three song theme that becomes the ultimate REK journey to date. It might take a listen or two, but the lyric is clearly worth the time. This entire collection is rich with a mature and unique voice that defines Robert Earl Keen's music. Backed by Rich Brotherton's amazingly right guitar playing, it is a collection full of all the things that make you want to remember every single word. A tremendous acheivement that reminds us that all the journeys worth taking are within Walking Distance."
"Walking distance" would be a bargin at twice the price.
Wayne Cavanaugh (email@example.com) | 11/04/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a 47 year old son of the late sixties, raised on the icons of that rock and roll era. Being fortunate enough to see many of the groups from that musical period, I developed a taste for the unusual. The music from my youth was dynamic and ever changing evoking all ranges of emotion. I first saw, and heard, Robert Earl Keen and the Robert Earl Keen Band on Austin City Nights back in 94' after returning from 36 straight hours of work. As I was falling asleep I heard "Merry Christmas from the Family" for the first time. The REK band woke me straight away and held me spell bound with their delightful music and remarkably irreverant lyrics. From that point on I was marked as a fan. I've had a bit of a hard time finding REK cd's until I discovered Amazon "music", and stumbled onto the REK treasure trove that is at Amazon. "Walking Distance" was bought sight unseen and unheard on the come that it would be typical REK fare, and disappointed I was not. From the first cut to the last this cd is nothing short of great. No two songs are alike. "Walking Distance" runs the gamut of whimsical Texas swing to the sound of zydeco from the cajun areas of Louisiana. The ballads allow one to wipe a tear while sipping a beer, or to glow with the warmth of friendship from those we value most. These guys write a wide range of the eclectic and spin a magical spell with their musical talents. I was going to compare REK and the REK band to other musical greats, but decided that would not be fair to REK et al. These guys can stand alone. "Walking Distance" is well worth the price of admission, in fact it would be a bargin at twice the price.tb"
Music for the soul
Bt | Parts unknown | 09/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I dont get people who trash this guy. They obviously don't understand what he's all about. Robert Keen is a Texas treasure! His songwriting is absolutely heartbreaking, hilarious and honest. He writes about real people, places and things. His music is equal to his songwriting. His voice has that lonesome twang that only real lovers of Texas roots music would appreciate. Here he returns to a rootsier feel than his "Picnic' disc,(which was also great) and it's magic. A gem!"
Keen's Best To Date
M. White | Northeast - USA | 12/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Walking Distance is REK's best release to date. From the opening of the rocking "Down That Dusty Trail" through the wonderful cover of Norman Blake's "Billy Gray", to the cinematic "Road to No Return/Carolina" and "New Life in Old Mexico", Keen finally takes his rightful place among the best songwriters in the Americana genre. This album both rocks with a kick as well as soothes with rich, haunting ballads. There's not a bad song in the bunch here. I've been a fan ever since I first heard the "Front Porch Song" some 16 years ago..... ("Robert Keen, Robert Keen, can ya come help me for a minute!", to paraphrase an inside joke from the song). Keen's current band is formidable, to say the least. Keen's guitarist, Rich Brotherton, is one of the most underrated sidemen working today. This is a must buy for all REK fans and is certainly more than a worthy introduction to one of America's most unique musical talents."
Sounding good again
J. Tyler | Tennessee | 01/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"REK's follow-up to "Picnic" doesn't have the raw edge of his earlier albums, especially the live shows, but the maturity of his songwriting is apparent. "Feeling Good Again" feels good, but doesn't feel soft, and it paints a pretty good picture of the typical REK bar crowd.
"The Road Of No Return" is an odd attempt at a sort of movement within the album. And while it ties a couple of tracks together pretty well, it's not something that stands alone very well. It will get stuck in your head, though. Damn tune.
The diligent listener will be rewarded with, not one, but two versions of "Merry Christmas, Y'all" at the end of the disc. The first is a slightly less funny cousin of REK's popular "Merry Christmas From the Family," but the second version is a bit of drunken hilarity that gives us a little more of the REK live show humor that has made his "Live Dinner" albums so popular.
Overall, probably his best studio work. The songwriting is definitely at it's best, and the good-natured Texas tongue-in-cheek isn't completely absent."