Home Read Classic Album Review: Robert Earl Keen | Gravitational Forces

Classic Album Review: Robert Earl Keen | Gravitational Forces

This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


For a guy who’s been putting out albums for a decade — and had his songs covered by everyone from Lyle Lovett to George Strait — Texas troubadour Robert Earl Keen has a decidedly low profile. But not for much longer, I reckon. Not if he keeps putting out stunning discs like his ninth album Gravitational Forces.

A nearly flawless set that showcases Keen’s, well, keen eye for everyman storytelling and lyrical beauty, along with his knack for instantly familiar melodies, Forces smoothly saunters from laid-back roots-jangle and Dylanesque folk to honky-tonk swing and slide-guitar gospel, propelled by Robert Earl’s tangy mesquite twang and world-weary sadness. Not that Gravitational Forces is nearly as much a downer as its handle would suggest. Tunes like Walkin’ Cane and High Plains Jamboree kick up some dust, and even the darker moments like Fallin’ Out and Goin’ Nowhere Blues have optimism and hope at their core — these characters may be down, but that just means they have nowhere to go but up. Which is hopefully the same direction Keen’s star is headed.