After 40 years of singing, songwriting, and touring, Alt-Country/Americana artist Robert Earl Keen is retiring from the road. Long-time fans Sandra Johnson Cooper and Ron Cooper believe the time is right for a book that illustrates how Keen has inspired not only a generation of younger songwriters but also has influenced writers of poetry and fiction. Keen is as much a storyteller as he is a songwriter, and this anthology will be a monument of sorts to his literary talents.
What the editors hope for is pieces that take REK’s songs into unexpected directions, say, the narrative told by a minor character in a song. Bring fresh perspectives, and please make sure that you pick songs that he wrote, not covers from other songwriters.
Robert Earl Keen’s touch with lyrics is obvious. Every song is a story with a unique physical setting. It’s the music, however, that delivers those lyrics as a seamless, extremely musical whole. Each song has its own framework, supporting the story in every way and creating a rich scene in the listener’s mind.—Kathy Barwick
Editors Ron and Sandra Cooper
South Carolina natives Sandra Johnson Cooper and Ron Cooper have lived in Florida since 1988 and have been fans of Robert Earl Keen for nearly as long. They both teach at the College of Central Florida where Sandra specializes in American literature, and Ron specializes in philosophy and world religions.