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Monday, February 15, 2010

Play A Train Song

Categories: Live Music

Robert Earl Keen headlined at the Bluebird in Bloomington on Feb. 11 with Bobby Bare Jr. opening the show.  We started off with a bite to eat and cocktails at Grazie (I think Grazie has the best calamari in town and martinis are half-price on Thursday evenings.  Deadly.).  The 'Bird and Grazie are located near each other just off the square downtown so we walked over to the show after we ate.

Bare Jr. took the stage at 9 PM playing by himself with his acoustic guitar, harmonica, no shoes and a tambourine strapped to his foot.  Hailing from Nashville, he didn't disappoint as his playing, singing and usual humorous banter with the crowd were in full swing.  After his second song, he asked a few rude, talkative people if they would like him to play more quietly so that he wouldn't interrupt their conversations.  I say right on!  I never understand why people want to pay $20 to go to a show and disrupt the performers by yakking the whole time.  Go to a good old watering hole if that's what you want to do.  Highlights of his set included the incredible "I'll Be Around" and "Valentine."  He also performed a tune written by Shel Silverstein recorded by the Pixies for a Silverstein tribute record Bobby is producing.  I look forward to that.

Bobby Bare Jr:

One of America's finest writers and singers, particularly of story songs, Robert Earl Keen was next and his two+ hour show was fantastic.  His music just sucks you in and makes you forget about everything else in the world but what's going on up there on that stage.  I think that's the way it's supposed to be.  The Austin native played acoustic guitar the entire time and had a four-piece band with him consisting of a lead guitarist (the amazing Rich Brotherton), bass guitarist, drummer and pedal steel player (wailing out that lonesome sound as good as it gets).  They played several new songs and many of his better known ones such as "Feeling Good Again," "What I Really Mean," and "Corpus Christi Bay."  A good portion of the crowd knew all the words and sang along to many of them.  I think my favorite song of the night was actually a Todd Snider cover, "Play A Train Song."  He ended the show with his anthem made famous by the Highwaymen, "The Road Goes On Forever."

Robert Earl Keen:

Mike McAfee

Mike McAfee

The Executive Director of Visit Bloomington, Mike blogs primarily about outdoor recreation and live music.