Texas icon Robert Earl Keen has put his musical muscle behind Americana Music by creating a new podcast called Americana Podcast: The 51st State with the key aim to define and expand the Americana music genre.
The podcast debuted on April 30 with Keen interviewing artists he regards as essential to the format. The first two episodes featured Texas duo Jamestown Revival and the Tennessee country-rock outfit Lucero.
In a statement, the acclaimed singer-songwriter said: “Our mission is reflected in the title. Let’s unify the musical styles of folk, blues, bluegrass, country, string band, garage band rock into a powerful collectible under the same umbrella.”
“A few years ago I just went ahead and embraced the Americana label. I believe in it, I believe there should be more talk about it.”
At a time when many critics are finding it hard to define Americana Music, and indeed some artists are themselves dismissive of the label, Keen’s move will be seen as a timely tonic for the genre.
He has much credibility in the business, being a dynamic live performer with a string of alt-country classics, including The Road Goes on Forever, Whenever kindness Fails, I’ll Go On Downtown and This Old Porch, which he co-wrote with fellow-Texan Lyle Lovett.
Keen recently announced that he is to team up with Tyler Childers, the Americana Emerging Artist of the Year, for a series of shows throughout Texas in July. Tyler wasted little time endorsing the partnership: “Robert Earl Keen is bigger than Texas and gooder than best.”