REK and Lyle Lovett Live

REK and Lyle Lovett Live

Billed as an acoustic evening with Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett, it’s a small tour that was playing whistle stops South and West Texas and then Santa Fe (NM), and that’s about it.

The ubiquitous Front Porch Song is covered, usually played, by both artists in their respective acts, REK with his band, and Lyle Lovett with his Large Band.

    Digging around on the sites for those links, REK calls it the “Front Porch Song,” while Lyle Lovett refers to it as “That Old Porch.”(1)

When they first came out, simple stage, just a rug and two guitars each, Lyle Lovett was dressed in his characteristic black suit, white shirt, thin black tie, sporting some mighty fine custom-looking boots while REK was a little more relaxed, in khakis, ropers, and open shirt under a sport jacket. From the distance, and even up close these days, REK is ruggedly gray with a distinguished mane and frequently sports goatee of one sort or another, matching gray.

Lyle observed that Robert Keen looked like “The most interesting man in the world,” an allusion to Double X beer.(2) In reality, REK is probably one of the most interesting men in the world. Story-teller, raconteur, singer(3), songwriter, occasional humorist and true Son of the Lone Star. Odd trivia, both artists grew up in the Houston area, “about 40 miles apart.”

In some cases, there were the stories behind the stories told in the songs. With one song, I learned that the song was in REK’s canon long before immigration became an issue, “Mariano” is the song. The music, though, the songs and their stores, they speak to something larger than just here, and the experiences have to be transferable.

Odd observation, prompted by “Is there wireless in heaven” banter, had to do with what each of the two artist heard from fans. REK? “We like to get really drunk and listen to your records!”

Outside of San Antonio/Austin, REK is not as well known, is my guess. Lyle Lovett, been in movies, was married to a movie star, been on TV a couple of times, although, from Lyle’s stage presence, you can’t see much “acting” going on, but skip that. Outside of Texas, Lyle Lovett is still well known; REK? Apparently not so much.

Big BUT gets interjected here. The “Bucking Song,” the words to “Corpus Christi Bay,” and the lyrics to his Xmas song? The whole auditorium could sing along.

Show lasted at least two and half hours with an encore. Two exceptional singer/songwriters, each with two guitars, that was it. Absolutely the best. Two performers with meandering careers that — fortunately — crossed each others’ paths again.

“We did this tour so we could hang out together.”

Can’t fake real enthusiasm, real friendship.

    (1) Same words, different title, must make music business lawyers spin around in circles.
    (2) Dos Equis, dark mexican.
    (3) REK is a singer only if you like a high, nasally twang. I do.

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