Robert Earl Keen Announces Retirement from Touring and Performing Publicly

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Texas’ legendary singer/songwriter Robert Earl Keen has shocked fans and music industry insiders with the announcement of his retirement from performing publicly on Friday, January 14.

Keen wrote a heartfelt message to his fans on his website, sharing the news.

“It’s with a mysterious concoction of joy and sadness that I want to tell you as of September 4th, 2022, I will no longer tour and perform publicly. I plan to continue to write songs, interview a wide variety of celebrities and contributors for our Americana Podcast,” he wrote. “I also embrace this as an opportunity to further support the musical community and the ever expanding body of young talent on our horizon.”

Keen, 66, assured fans that the reason behind his decision was not due to ill health or any crisis he was encountering.

“I’m not sick or experiencing any existential crisis. I feel that making a decision and quitting the road while I still love it, is the way I want to leave it,” he wrote. “I feel that making a decision and quitting the road while I still love it, is the way I want to leave it.”

In addition, the Texas native shared that his last performance will take place on September 4, 2022, with a fan-appreciation party on Labor Day, September 5th. “We will be touring extensively up to and through September 4, 2022, and encourage you to get our attention, if you are interested in steering a tour your way,” he shared.

Born in Houston in 1956, Keen graduated in 1978 from Texas A&M, where he played folk and bluegrass music with friends, including roommate Lyle Lovett. He then moved to Austin, Texas, and released his first album, No Kinda Dancer, in 1984. He later went on to record 18 albums throughout his career for both independent and major record labels.

Keen’s songs have been recorded by fellow artists such as Joe Ely, The Highwaymen, George Strait, Lyle Lovett, and Nanci Griffith. In 2012, he was inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame. His latest album, Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions, was released in 2015 with a live album, Live Dinner Reunion, to follow in 2016.

You can check out Keen’s tour dates for 2022 HERE.

Read Robert Earl Keen’s message in full below:

You’ve heard people say “Time flies”. It’s a cliché. Funny thing about clichés and what makes them ubiquitous, is they ring true. Jackson Browne has a line in a song that encapsulates a lifetime in the blink of an eye. It’s difficult for me to absorb the concept but, I understand it as a feeling because I feel it more and more with each passing day. BUT, it is easier to say, “time flies”. We all know what that means.

There is no way to inventory the fantastic amount of incredible people that have touched my life. My family, friends, band members, fans, co-workers, teachers, advisors, confidants, and peers only begin to tell the story. I feel connected to everyone of them. If I can picture them in “the blink of an eye” like a snapping a photograph, I’m connected. And I do believe it’s the people that come in and out of your life that make life worth living or, in unfortunate cases, a living Hell.

Fortunately, I been blessed with a lifetime of brilliant, talented, colorful, electric and magical folks throughout my life. This chorus of joy, this parade of passion, this bullrush of creativity, this colony of kindness and generosity are foremost in my thoughts TODAY. It’s with a mysterious concoction of joy and sadness that I want to tell you as of September 4th, 2022, I will no longer tour and perform publicly. I plan to continue to write songs, interview a wide variety of celebrities and contributors for our Americana Podcast. I also embrace this as an opportunity to further support the musical community and the ever expanding body of young talent on our horizon.

I’m a strong believer in clarity and truth. As much as I love what I do, it’s more important that I do it well or not at all. I’m not sick or experiencing any existential crisis. I feel that making a decision and quitting the road while I still love it, is the way I want to leave it. I’ve witnessed first hand the alternative and promised myself I would go out feeling all the love for music and performing the same way I entered- with passion and enthusiasm.

We will be touring extensively up to and through September 4, 2022 and encourage you to get our attention, if you are interested in steering a tour your way. Our last two or three shows will be at Flores Country Store in Helotes, Texas and we will throw a fan-appreciation party on Labor Day, September 5th. Details of that event will follow soon. All booking inquires will be addressed by Lynn Cingari and Seth Malasky at Wasserman Music. All publicity inquires go to Tamara Saviano. All other inquires will be handled by Keen Productions. The details of this information will be available on my website. 

Thank you for all the wonderful shows throughout the years and, although  it might not be apparent here, I promise, The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends.

Robert Earl Keen

Photo by: Nick Doll

Leave a Reply

Eric Church Jack Daniel's Summer Campaign

Top 11 Eric Church Songs

Kanye West

Ye (Kanye West) Releases New Single, “Eazy,” with The Game