Written By: Jeff Markunas
Label: Lost Highway – Rating:
This album fits your ears the way an old leather jacket fits your back – comfortable in all the right places. Robert Earl doesn’t so much roll up to the Rose Hotel as glide. Texas boys with no muss, no fuss? Don’t sound right do it? Well REK knows how to make this work.
If you’re gonna spend a large part of your life standing in front of a mic wearing an old hat and boots, with a guitar slung over your shoulder, you better be real good or go home. Robert Earl Keen has no problem holding his own under these circumstances. You may not have been following his career – there’s a lot of pickers who tend to suck the oxygen right out of the air in Texas. You gotta be good to stay and you have to be great to make it.
The Rose Hotel is a gem of an album, although it may not have the brightest sparkle of REK’s career, as I think some of his earlier work rocks harder and glows brighter. The Rose Hotel does however have an incredible jewel, “Wireless In Heaven,” which skewers modern life very musically and very thoroughly. I recommend that everyone buy a copy of this album, drive over to the local Starbucks, and play this song at full volume on your netbook while standing in line during the morning rush.
Robert Earl is in a very mellow mood here – if he got much more laid back, the Doctors would applying the paddles and yell, “CLEAR!” My recommendation – Get your ‘chill’ on with “Flying Shoes” or “Goodbye Cleveland,” then wake it up with”10,000 Chinese Walk Into A Bar,” and put the cherry on top with “Wireless In Heaven” (What’s the musical equivalent of a Burp? Ahhh…)
Rock Bottom Line:
Mellow little gem of a Texas/country album. Relax and Enjoy.
CWG Rating – 3.5 Guns