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Robert Earl Keen
Farm Fresh Onions
Audium Records

There are a variety of ways to look at country music, but the simplest and truest way that I have found is to not differentiate between country and rock, but to let all that great music commingle in my heart and mind with disregard to separatist distinctions. With that in mind, I'm here to tell you that Robert Earl Keen writes and records some of the finest rock music ever recorded… and all with that deep country soul for which he's been known so long. Always surrounding himself with some of the finest musicians around, each record is a work of art, each concert a pure and lively experience. Farm Fresh Onions is certainly no exception to this rule. A record born out of a challenge issued by his wife, when one day REK brought home a bag of grapefruits from the market in a bag labeled "farm fresh onions". And so the entire record has a spirit of fun and light-hearted purpose that rarely exists in this modern world of ours. Music for the joy of making music and sharing it with others.

Kicking the album off in high gear is "Furnace Fan", a song that has fast become one of my favorite songs ever. Maybe it's the Arizona connections and the fact that I can empathize with the song… or maybe it's just that the song is brilliantly written and the melodies are distinctive and subtle. Shawn Colvin lends her crystal vocal talents on the song "Out Here In The Middle", a dazzling James McMurtry penned song that seems to just be about a bunch of stuff that happens, but each listen clarifies one or two of life's little truths. On the title track, Robert sums up great mysteries in simple terms: "Truth is all I'm looking for, town to town and door to door/ Happiness is nothing more than Sunday at the zoo/ Ridin' high inside the wires, the sum of all my desires/ Earth and rain, all it requires is love from and you". There are a couple of very bluesy numbers, filled with excellent riffing and soul - "Gone On" and "So Sorry Blues". And then the record begins to make a turn… songs get a bit darker, take on a more somber tone. The aching of "These Years" and the dirgey simplicity of "Famous Words" are testament to the endless dimensionality of Keen's songwriting. Winding up the record is "Let The Music Play", which makes a perfect resolution to the album, with its message of renewed hope and life. Farm Fresh Onions is not simply an enjoyable record, it is a journey, a roadmap of experiences that cradles delicately learned lessons and truths… The rapture of love, the sorrow of loss, the wonder of the world around us, and how it can all be seen through eyes of joy and life.

And all of this from a kid that was college roommates with Lyle Lovett? It boggles the mind. Not a day goes by that I don't wish that I could have spent a week in that magical dorm room!

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:

1. Furnace Fan
2. All I Have Is Today
3. Out Here In The Middle
4. Train Trek
5. Farm Fresh Onions
6. Floppy Shoes
7. Gone On
8. So Sorry Blues
9. Beats The Devil
10. These Years
11. Famous Words
12. Let The Music Play

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