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July 9, 2024 52 mins

Americana and Texas legend, Robert Earl Keen, joined Bobby Bones for a one-on-one interview at his house. It's been three decades since Robert released his debut album and has put out 20+ since. He also opens up about why after 41 years of touring he's deciding to retire from the road. He shares the approach he took making his new album, Western Chill, and the graphic novel he released for it. Robert also talks about his love for poetry and songwriting and reveals a certain part of history he knows every detail of and more! 

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Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:06):
When I wrote that song about up tempo cool got
you know, some drama in and stuff like that, but that
I didn't know like that Christmas song would give me
fourteen years on the Road of Christmas Shows.

Speaker 2 (00:19):
Episode four sixty with Robert Earl Keane, a Texas country legend,
a Texas country giant. He put out a record called
Western Chill back in June, but now they digitally released that,
but now non digitally like a hard copy. You can
get a CD or vinyl. There's also a ninety two
page graphic novel inspired by the album, so check it

out Western Chill. Robert Earl Keane thought it was super
cool that came over the house. He brought his guitar.
I thought he was going to play something, and I
was like, no pressure to play here, we don't want you,
and he was like, okay, cool, So he didn't play.
But I always feel that people feel they need to
bring an instrument and play, which is not the case.
They'll last sometimes like should I bring guitar? Should I
play something that we don't have to? We never want
any to feel like that, And I feel like he

would have for sure pulled out and started playing. But
I think we got what we were looking for, not
only with a really cool interview about his poetry, et cetera,
but when he started reciting just from memory, and I'm
not going to say what it is, there's a certain
part of history that he knows every single detail, to
my mind was blown. So, Robert Earl Keene, I hope
you enjoy this. I'll stop talking so you can hear

him here on the Bobby Cast. Do we do remote
covid like the show?

Speaker 1 (01:27):
Like the show when when covid hit, did y'all do
some remote?

Speaker 2 (01:31):
We at first, because you know, nobody was really allowed
to do anything, so we definitely and it sounded like garbage.
But if it wasn't for COVID, like Zoom, would not
be what it is. It wouldn't have given us the
ability to do so much more. Now, I agree, Yeah,
so yeah, but yeah, And I'm very familiar with the
podcast you've been doing it. I don't know if it's

five years though, Maricana Podcast.

Speaker 1 (01:54):
Right, Mariicana Podcast?

Speaker 2 (01:56):
What why did you start that podcast?

Speaker 1 (01:58):
Well, Claire was one kind of dragged me, kick in
and shrink screaming into it because I did a I
had done a serious XM show for a little while,
and I realized how much work it was, and I said,
you know, this is a lot of work. We can
do this, We can do this. So, uh, I thought, well,
you know, one of the things that happens when you're like,
you know, touring musician, is you really isolate yourself from

all the rest of the music. People think you see
music all the time, but you know, you every once
in a while you walk up the side the stage
and watch some man they players to watch the support act,
and I was just completely disconnected with the music of
the time. And I started thinking about that. I thought, well,
this is a good way for you know, to educate
myself about like what's going on. And so we started
and uh, it went pretty well right off the bat.

We've got to use the studios at Texas Monthly for
about two months and that was that was really good,
and people would want to want to go to Texas Monthly,
you know, because it's just that that magazine. So we
had a we had a really good start, and then uh,
we just we just kept it going. We had some
bumps along along the way and bump, what's up? I mean,
you know, like there's some time lags on things like

that and not being able to like hit it like
you know, every month or every two weeks or whatever
we had going on.

Speaker 2 (03:09):
That's a big part of how hard it is to
do a podcast is consistently doing the podcast. You know,
with me, I'm doing the national radio show five days
a week, I'm doing this podcast once or twice a
week of a sports show. But of all of that,
it's not always creating content. It's like just being able
to be there and schedule and do right.

Speaker 1 (03:32):
Yes, absolutely, what did you learn?

Speaker 2 (03:34):
Because again, you're somebody spent their entire career like writing
and creating, but now on a different mediu I'm like,
what'd you learn? Well?

Speaker 1 (03:41):
I learned that I was too narcissisistic to ask a
lot of questions, So I better need to learn how
to listen to people and ask ask, you know, the
right questions. And also I started out with like, you know,
notes and notes and stuff, and then I realized that,
you know, I would be looking in my notes and
I wouldn't be looking listen, and so so I just

I finally just kind of threw the notes away and do,
like what we're doing here is just talk and you know,
sometimes you stumble in some real magic. Sometimes it's it
just goes on. But you can continue to do that
as much. I mean, you know, thank God for editing
and things like that, you can just take out some
of those slow parts.

Speaker 2 (04:19):
And also thank God for technology that you know, you
can get a kit and you can do a podcast
at a kitchen table.

Speaker 1 (04:26):

Speaker 2 (04:26):
No, it sounds good and as long as what you're
saying makes sense, people are still people are happy with it.

Speaker 1 (04:30):
Absolutely. That's that is the thing is some of the
consistency about it. It's like not only just timing but
sound as well.

Speaker 2 (04:38):
What'd you do today today?

Speaker 1 (04:40):
I barely got up in the morning.

Speaker 2 (04:43):
I think, have you had a whole because my expectation
with you, I lived in Austin for twelve thirteen years.

Speaker 1 (04:49):
Did you really? Yeah?

Speaker 2 (04:50):
So that to me is like my relationship with getting
to know you and knowing you while you didn't know me.
You know, that whole creepy fan thing. But I lived
in Austin for and you're part of the fabric there still,
and so I don't know your relationship with Nashville now,
so I would just expect when you're here you were
just like doing lots of press.

Speaker 1 (05:12):
We filled up our day yesterday yesterday and then this
morning was really a catch up day. Was just trying
to see what else is in front of And we're
doing this you know show on Knoxville on Saturday at
the Tennessee Theater. So the band and all those guys
are flying in to mar so we're just kind of
getting ready for them.

Speaker 2 (05:29):
I mean to have a lot of stuff to talk
about that I've as you said, like, I made some
notes on stuff, but I don't always get to them
because I like to listen to what you're saying and
kind of go And you mentioned the band and without
notes if I mess up some of this, just to
correct me before you tell the story. But so I
have your the new project right a song called Waves. Okay,
one of your band members wrote this song, and it

feels to me from listening to you knowing you and
my Texas version, but then going and doing a bit
of a deeper dive, that you're you're very band oriented.
Even though it's your name up front, you're still very
much band oriented, which is not always the case. So

you have a member of your band that wrote that
song Waves, and it's on the record. I don't see
a lot of people doing that.

Speaker 1 (06:17):
Why that The point was, I wanted to do something
that was different than a lot of other people. And
I am very banded orient and really I've always paid.
They have a salary based on the amount of shows
and stuff, and and we had insurance and retirement program
all the way back into the nineties, so I was.

And also when I got into this, when I started
getting into a band thing, Bobby, I listened to other
musicians at that part, I did listen to I listened
to other musicians and they would say, well, you know,
we don't ever get to play on the records, and
we you know, we get pushed aside. We get the
lousiest hotel rooms and stuff. And I thought, well, you know,

why can't you get those things? And then well, you
know people don't want to do that. Well, I mean
it's in some ways, it's just like a regular business.
And if people are crying for certain things that they
need or they feel like they need, then I saw
no reason that you couldn't go ahead and start it
that way. Fortunately I did start it that way, because

backing up and trying to catch up with it is
really difficult. Because then all of a sudden, you're counting
your pennies and stuff going. Yeah, So I was, so
we got to we got to the COVID thing, and
I kept everybody on Saturday and on insurance. And then
after about two months, I realized that we, you know,
we were all still well, and I have this place
out in the country, so I said, let's come on

out here and rehearse. So we rehearsed for a little while,
and then I had this lightning bolt moment when evening,
like when the sun was going down, the moon was
coming up and the stars all shining, and I wrote
this song Western Chill, and then I wrote four more
songs that same night that all fit in there. So
so when they came back the next time for the rehearsal,
I said, here's what we're gonna do. We're going to

do this thing where we're going to do it's all
band inclusive. You guys bring your songs, I bring my songs.
We all sit around and jam like we were doing
like if we were on the porch or you know,
like just meeting each other and just jam. And so
they were going real skeptical. They were going, so like,
we bring our songs to you and then you learn

them and you sing them. I said, no, man, you
you sing them. We're doing them your way. You can.
You can produce this song anyway you want to do it.
But we're all in on this, and we're all gonna
talk about how to make this work, and it's all
going to be under this one umbrella, the Western Chill umbrella,
and hopefully everything fits. And sure enough, I mean, you know,

the guys brought these songs. You know, all of them wrote,
and so they brought these songs that were just, you know,
just fit. I keep using this analogy. It was like
a giant jigsaw puzzle that every piece was really easy
to put in. You just got blunt and there you go,
and here's a jigsaw puzzle. So we put it all together.
There was only one outlier. The bass player writes a

lot of songs, and he he was the biggest basketball
fan in the world, I mean huge, just basketball all
the time. That's all he thinks about other than music.
Here's music, here's basketball. So uh so he says, I think,
I don't know, you might not like this one. This
is this is not really that Western Hill, But I
think we can make it that way, and he wrote

he sang me a song called why Why because yeah,
Leonard left the Spurs, and yes, yes, it was like why.
And after he finished, I said Bill that that's a
really great song, but I don't really feel like it
fits the format.

Speaker 2 (09:47):
Hilarious, what a funny name to why like a sad song?

Speaker 1 (09:51):
Oh yeah, he was broken hearted.

Speaker 2 (09:55):
Did you have any mentors when you were a young
writer artist?

Speaker 1 (10:00):
Uh? You know, Guy Clark helped me out some. I mean,
a guy was kind of late to the party. But
as far as that goes, because I went and toured
for Guy in Town for about on and off for
about eighteen months, and it was it was really good.
So I got to see them and get that that.
But a guy was always a little skeptical of like
what I was doing, which is kind of just always
the way it is anyway, but uh, you know, and

then one day he just was like, man, that song
and that song, that song, I'm gonna take you around
and he took me around to some different publishers and
he got me to play some stuff for people and
stuff like that. So yes, definitely him. There was a
guy that I was in a play with called oddly enough,
back when I lived in Austin called Nashville Road. So
I was Jasper Joe Douglas, the singing dishwasher in this.

And the guy who was the prologue to that was
a guy named j. D. Hutchess, and he was from
Barnesville High and he and and JD probably had more
influence on me anybody, because he was just a hillbilly genius,
you know, just one of these guys that just soaked
up all this information. Was brilliant, could do anything, any
kind of art, he could play any kind of instrument

and uh so he lived with he was not he
was terrible with money. So he lived with me for
about a year. We lived together, and he was really
you know, instrumental and just like at writing songs and
just you know and taking time off and the whole thing.
Was just a really wonderful human being. So I'd say
that would be He wasn't really He had a band

called the Hutcheson Brothers when out of California, like in
the early seventies, but didn't have much luck. Anyway, he
was a great guy and he and he taught me
a lot.

Speaker 2 (11:35):
Did you do you find that any of the artists
now use you as that kind of mentor or have
used you as that because they looked up to you
and then you you did kind of a guy did
like you showed an appreciation for the works. They felt
like they could lean on you a little bit.

Speaker 1 (11:47):
Yeah. I have some good connections with the UH, specifically
that the UH, the Texas artists like Cody Canada and
UH say, Randy Rodgers and I made a record together.
It was kind of a disaster, but we still made
a record together. And then it was under the Striker Brothers.
It was like some kind of we made up this

big yarn about how we were in prison and nobody
knew where these tapes were, and we found these tapes.
It just all fell apart because everybody knew who the
hell we're who were as soon as we opened our mouths,
you know, I mean you could hear it, right. So
that was the deal. And then but I get on
you know, people asked me to be on part of

their deal, and so I'm connected with that. But I'm
really connected with the Nashville thing as well, because I've
been part of BMI for like, I don't know, twenty
five years, and I always go to the songwriters thing
down there in Key West. We just got back from
that a few weeks ago. And they used to have
a thing called Country and the Rockies that I did.
So I know a lot of songwriters here and I've

written with a lot of them. And also had a
deal a few years ago where I just had a
little publishing deal where they people to me that they
knew really liked my stuff, you know that, like Brent
Cobb or somebody like that, and and just you know,
lots lots of different people, uh we and I wrote

some really good songs with them. So I got a
really good connection all the way through there. And people
do and I do. I find that people will track
me down.

Speaker 2 (13:21):
What was the first version of your writings poetry was
the short stories, like even as a kid poetry.

Speaker 1 (13:28):
I started writing poetry when I was about eight years old,
and I wasn't ever a good student, but like when
you had poetry week in like elementary school or in
middle school, all of a sudden I got thrown to
the head of the class because it was like, you know,
I could write really solid poetry and my poems would

be in the hallway. They'd put them up and stuff,
and then I'd ended up in these like ap English classes.
Well I was I only wrote the poetry was really
really good. My prose is terrible, so so i'd be
I'd be under water, you know, with these classes they
put me in. But the poetry was one of those
things that just came, you know, it just came to me.
It was a gift.

Speaker 2 (14:09):
How were you exposed to any sort of literature or
poetry to be doing that at eight?

Speaker 1 (14:13):
My mother read all the time. My mother, my mother
sat on the couch. She'd get up out of the
bed about midnight. She'd go sit on the couch and
read till about four o'clock in the morning and sleep
another two hours and then go to work. And uh
she she used to pay me a quarter to memorize poems,
you know, And so so I memorize these poems and

and consequently I just I also I found I had
some teachers four fifth grade, sixth grade that found out
that I like to read. So they would point me
to some books that had more substance, you know, you know,
not just Therinkle in Time or something, but you know,
something substance. And I just devoured those. Those were those
were great. So you know, the written word to me

is is a standard bearer for every thing that we do.
It just you you know, you need precision, you need clarity.
That's how you get it.

Speaker 2 (15:05):
So there was a literature background in your house because
your mom was a reader. What was your mom and dad?
Were they still together? And what did your dad do?

Speaker 1 (15:14):
My dad was an engineer.

Speaker 2 (15:15):
Okay, So when did you get when did music become
part of something you could stick with the poetry? What
age did that start happening?

Speaker 1 (15:25):
About eighteen?

Speaker 2 (15:26):
Did you have music in your house consistently.

Speaker 1 (15:28):
Well, other than records? My mom loved country music.

Speaker 2 (15:31):
So yeah, and who does she listen to when you
think back?

Speaker 1 (15:33):
She loved Roy Acuff and like those people from the forties,
you know, even even Bill Monroe and Joe Grass stuff
then yeah, and Jimmy Rodgers, you know, the father country music.
Who you know whose last house was in Cerville, Texas
where I live, you know.

Speaker 2 (15:47):
So the bluegrass like flattened scrugs, you know, and their
body work. I know, I would say a decent amount
of it, but I think people would mostly know it
in the in the popular vein as the Beverly Hillbillies,
oh yeah, you know the song.

Speaker 1 (16:04):

Speaker 2 (16:04):
So but what was your relationship with bluegrass and did
you flat scrugg Was that for you?

Speaker 3 (16:09):

Speaker 1 (16:09):
Bluegrass came when I went to A and M. So
I was so so I started playing when I was
when I got to A and M when I was eighteen,
and uh so what I what ended up happening was
I learned some country songs by myself, and then I
just started filtering into some people that played music, and
in general, it was all acoustic. It was all about

it was all just about like singing bluegrass or gospel
or something like that. And we really did have this
porch out there on Church Street. It was a block
off the campus, so people came and parked there, and
then there are a lot of musicians that came there
and they would say, well can I jam with you?
And they'd come over there and jam. So all that
bluegrass just kind of came to me almost because I

was you know, I knew, you know, Rocky Top or
something like that, but but all that bluegrass, and then
I got to be just a huge fan of bluegrass.

Speaker 2 (16:58):
I was.

Speaker 1 (16:58):
I was a huge fan of Normal Blake, whom hardly
anybody knows but the fact was is he kind of
put it all together because he was a great, great
flat picker and he wrote a lot of songs. You know,
do you.

Speaker 2 (17:09):
Feel like it made you a better musician instrumentalist to
have to learn bluegrass? That is a very difficult type
of music to have to just keep up with.

Speaker 1 (17:17):
Very difficult and I and I'm not and I wasn't
built for it. I'm too slow. But I want to say,
he used to you know, you got you got all
this good, great technology now. But the fact is, it's
like I used to put my foot on the LP
like this and slow it down so I could so
I could learn that the notes, and I just got

dandy down down like that kind of thing. And I
just never could get that, like, you know, that lightning
speed that people had. But so I got to be
a pretty good rhythm guitar player. And regardless of what,
you know, where my voice sits in the world, Uh,
I you know, I lyrically, I can sing almost any

song without like they get about it too much.

Speaker 2 (18:00):
You know, where did you get your first guitar?

Speaker 1 (18:03):
My first guitar came from my sister. Uh. When I
went to a and M I found out that I was,
you know, not the student that I thought I was,
and I was struggling. I was also really bored, and
I went back home. I don't know, Ma'm thought drug
got into A and M and H and there was
this old Alvarez classical guitar is all kind of beat up,

and that was my sister's guitar. So I thought, well,
maybe I can figure this out. So I went and
strung it up. Got this book that's called the Ten
Greatest Country Songs in America, and I wrote and I
learned nine of them because one of them was the
Happiest Girl in the Whole USA by Donald Fargo. So
I didn't think that fit in my repertoire. Actually, you

know today it might be kind of fun to do
so anyway, so I learned those songs, and like I said,
and then I kind of filtered into with these other people.
And then we made this band, you know, the Front
Porch Boys, and we had we had so many different
people come in and out of that band. It was
like American Aquarium or something. It's like a lot of

people of people come in and out of that band.

Speaker 2 (19:10):
With like you talk about poetry and your mom saying, hey,
let's memorize some poems. And then you being around even
just being around bluegrass musicians, you have to elevate a bit,
but you just hang right. Sure, those two things together,
it feels like that was the can you memorize anything?
By the way, did that was that really good for
your brain at that age to memorize poems? Did it
help you later? And then just hearing your music over time,

like I can feel a bit of bluegrass influence. Even
if you're going I don't play as fast, I can
still feel a bit of it. I feel like those
two factors, which you really had no control over, your
mom saying please memorize poetry and you being exposed to
bluegrass really influenced the artist that you are. Absolutely the
fact you can memorize that is such a valuable great

to have.

Speaker 1 (19:55):
Well, it's it is good and it's and it's one
of those things that it's helpful in a lot of ways,
Like I re memberiz soliloquies from Shakespeare and when I'm going
to when I'm going to sleep, when I can't go
to sleep, I just start going. Now is the winter
of I just continue to make the door summer mother
and I just keep doing it and then I'll fall asleep.

Speaker 2 (20:15):
You know, that's your What I do is I just
go through and the list my favorite Arkansas football players.
I'll literally count them down. Do you do Shakespeare? I
do like nineties football. Are you an A and M
sports guy at all?

Speaker 1 (20:26):
I don't do much sports, but I am part of
the A and M system. I'm big in the Association
of Former Students.

Speaker 2 (20:33):
Yeah, I saw you got the big, big award there.
They've only given that away to like have a certain few.

Speaker 1 (20:37):

Speaker 2 (20:38):
Do you feel like when did you speak at that
when they give you the award?

Speaker 1 (20:40):
H huh?

Speaker 2 (20:41):
Do you feel like you have to? Like I don't know,
because that when I did it, I felt like I
had to be a little more proper than I normally am.

Speaker 1 (20:47):
Definitely, did you Yeah, Yeah, you're kind of under the gun.
Even if you want to go I want to be
the coolest dude in the room, it kind of you
have to shave that back a little bit. Yeah. I
felt that.

Speaker 2 (20:56):
I was like, I don't really like to be me,
but if I'm just me, that's cool in all, but
like I need to elevate it a bit. Yeah, you know,
you have this songbook to play a long book. The
songbook that's that's in this project. It just makes me
think of that when you say that that's how you started. Yeah,
as you bought a book book. Yeah, I bought a
book to teach you how to play well.

Speaker 1 (21:14):
Well, I'm not I'm not real adventurous about going to
track people now and get them to show me something.
So I'm much more of a reader than a like
a communicator.

Speaker 2 (21:24):
What's your relationship with Nashville and has it changed over
the last three decades. Uh?

Speaker 1 (21:29):
What has changed is when I first we lived here
eighty five eighty seven, and when I came here, I
was just frightened to death. I didn't know what I
was doing. I didn't have really any connections. I was
like a zero there and always had this kind of
you know, rumbling in my stomach when I just drove
it in because it would I'm not I'm not big

on anxiety, but I guess that's what I was experiencing
a lot, you know, and I had and I had
a hard time getting in the whole. I didn't even
really get in this system. We finally left but but
but it was but after that, I used to say, like,
I feel like sometimes I can get out there on
the road and just be killing it and doing really

great shows, and I come to Nashville and I feel
like Superman landing on the planet Krypton, and all of
a sudden, all my strengths starts sinking away. And but lately,
in the last year or so, since I since I've
made my exit and thinking more about like doing that,
that's all gone away. I'm really I'm like, is this
the happiest I've ever been being in Nashville?

Speaker 2 (22:33):
Why do you feel that is? Are you limiting some
of the Ah, it's not even an expectation. Are you?

Speaker 1 (22:40):
But are you are?

Speaker 2 (22:41):
It doesn't matter as much too, because you know who
you are. You're comfortable with your your art now more
than ever.

Speaker 1 (22:45):
Absolutely. Yeah, That's that's really the most That's the biggest
part of it is because if I wouldn't, if I
really gave a damn about all all of this, really
or really sensitive, I would have gotten out a long
time ago. But I'm pretty bull and I you know,
I do believe in myself, and now I got to
a point where, you know, you know, I've done all

these things and I'm still an outlier. But man, it's
totally okay because I like being an outlier. I like
I like doing stuff. It gives me a freedom to
write whatever I want to write, do whatever I really
want to do. And sometimes, you know, I get like
the big forbidden zoned from some people because they just
they liked, you know, the conventional. But in general, people have,

you know, opened up their doors to me. I've got
lots of lots of ways that i can get around
doors if I can, if I get in.

Speaker 4 (23:37):
Let's take a quick pause for a message from our sponsor,
and we're back on the Bobby Cast.

Speaker 2 (23:51):
When you were going to college, what was your idea
of what you would be doing with your life before
music happened.

Speaker 1 (23:58):
I have no idea. I really just went. You know,
it's like I didn't have a real plan as a
matter of fact. The way then I went to A
and E. M like, So I'm driving around with my
friend Duckworth's rest red nineteen seventy two Maverick and with
the plaid seats and everything, and he's turning the corner
and he's got a big old folders can full of

snuff spit and just about that time, I said, where
are you going to go to college? He goes, I'm
going to go to A and M and he whips
it around and the whole thing spills over my laugh
and I'm going Jesus. I said, okay, well I think
I'll go. I think I'll go there. I don't know
what that bit, but it was like exactly what happened.

Speaker 2 (24:39):
I was a sign. Yeah, it was like a jippit.

Speaker 1 (24:43):

Speaker 2 (24:44):
How long were you there before he left?

Speaker 1 (24:46):
I was there a good six years, you know, easy
in college station. Well, I got kicked out twice. So
one time, one time I had to go back to Blynn,
which people junior college are h yeah, they call Blendergarden
a lot of times. And I always told him when
I graduated from Blynn, I got a T shirts that
says ignorance is Blenn, you know. So I was like,

I had this old joke thing going about Blynn. But
I got kicked out and went to Blen. So that
was That was in Brian. But the next time I
roughnecked every summer summer on ol Riggs. And so when
I got kicked out the second time, I just went
back to orig and I worked for about six months
and got my money back and then went and begged
them to let me back in. I mean I literally

literally gave this counselor one hundred dollars bill and a
bottle of Jack Danielson said let me in back in
this place please, and they let me in. So I
don't know if that that made a difference.

Speaker 2 (25:42):
It didn't hurt though, it did not if you didn't
get it back then it didn't hurt.

Speaker 1 (25:45):
Yeah, so it's good.

Speaker 2 (25:47):
Yeah, you kind of alternative country to me, at least
that's what I felt like, like, like not even an
alt defined alt country, because there's a version, there's a
real life version of that. I'm make an old country, right.
It always felt like you weren't purposefully you weren't out
like I'm going to be different. It was almost like
you're different and you wanted to do what you wanted

to do. It just so happened to be different, Like
I feel like you were purposely fighting the stream, but
I felt like you were just going down your own stream.
When did you feel like that that was the way
to do it, because most people are just going to
go along and try to do what is being done
so they can be successful. What was your point where
you go. I just have to be me or I'm
not gonna make it.

Speaker 1 (26:27):
I don't know about the third time somebody said I
can do it, right, Yeah right? Tell me when when first?

Speaker 2 (26:35):
Why would they say that? Though, like what we do,
I don't know.

Speaker 1 (26:37):
I would play on my song and they kind of
shake their head. And I had when I first got
here back in eighty five, they, you know, I had
people tell me the best advice I can give you
is just go back to Texas and do whatever you're doing.
And I was like, that's not what I'm here for.
I'm here for something else I want, you know. So
I just wouldn't. I just wouldn't listen to them, you know,
just and like I said, I don't know why. I'm

pretty sensitive about that, but I I this was my thing.
I wanted to do it, and I and I, you know,
I believe in myself and i'd stick and I stick
with it. And I'm big on commitment, like you know,
we're talking about the band earlier and stuff. I'm big
on commitment of saying, am I going to do this?
I'm going to do it. And sometimes it might take
a few years to get it done, but I keep going.

Speaker 2 (27:19):
You've mentioned something that I is a parallel to that.
Something within me is I'm extremely bullheaded and confident and
at the same time I am wildly sensitive about things too.
It's an odd juxt position like that, right, It's like,
if you're creating, it's weird to go, I'm creating this,
yet I'm not gonna be sensitive about what anybody says
about that just doesn't like how do you balance that?

How do you stay out of your own head and
have more of the push forward than that? I don't know.
I'm pretty neurotic. That's what I deal with.

Speaker 1 (27:47):
No, No, I agree. I struggle with that all the time,
you know, because uh, you know, you live your life
and you do find out that you make some really
bad decisions at times. You're but that that's not this
is not a bad decision, but bottom line, you know,
going back to it's it's the word, you know, It's like,

it's the bottom line. I can still just back up
and memorize my soliloquies and write more poems and things
like that. I haven't really I wrote a song the
other day and it's the first song I wrote about
a year. But in that period of time, I've written
a hundred poems.

Speaker 2 (28:24):
And where do you write them by hand on paper?

Speaker 1 (28:26):
Or do I write them on my phone? This is
because I'm too bad with paper, I'll lose it all.
And so I got where I just trained myself. Okay,
I'm going to do this on my phone. So I've
got them all on my phone. There there's a few
on paper, but in general they're all.

Speaker 2 (28:41):
Is most of your songwriting, taking your poetry and turning
it into song or or not. You're just writing songs straight.

Speaker 1 (28:49):
The thing about poetry and the reason that I turned
to is because I just I have to have that outlet,
I have to have that great about it. So I
wrote the poems. But I found out that there's this
great freedom in writing a poem instead of like trying
to attach some music to it, and so it gives me.
It liberates me even more so because I can just

talk about anything. I mean, like a good example was
I wrote this poem about I was out by this
lake and people kept telling me about this giant alligator
gar that wasn't supposed to be in this lake, but
somebody had slipped it in there at the nighttime, and
that like it was eating up all the little fish
and you had to be really careful, like it was
the Boogeyman. And so I just turned this thing into

this big thing about this lake and this alligator guard
at the bottom leke, and then basically you get down
there and it's the devil. So just like you know,
you can't cram that all of the song, really, I
mean you could, I guess Charlie Daniels could maybe.

Speaker 2 (29:45):
But do your poems have to rhyme?

Speaker 1 (29:48):

Speaker 2 (29:49):
Do most of them rhyme?

Speaker 1 (29:50):
Most of them? Probably?

Speaker 5 (29:52):
Yeah, I'd like those. I'm simple. Yeah, I like my
poems rhyme. Well, I think it makes it went back
to memorization. I think it makes it easier for another
person outside or memorize them or really get the whole point,
because when you do free form, you know, it's a
lot of times it turns into the laundry list and
you don't really do that.

Speaker 2 (30:09):
Do you ever go to rhymezone dot com and you
can't find that rhyme?

Speaker 1 (30:12):
Oh yeah, I've done that. Yeah, sure, I've got.

Speaker 2 (30:13):
To rhyme zone dot com. Be like cat and then
it's got like five hundred dat nat sad, And I'm like,
what can I fit it because if I'm writing like
a comedy song and I'm like, well I need something
in the rhymes a bucket and I can't use the
one I want.

Speaker 1 (30:24):
To do, I have one of those. So I did
I have a song that's called that.

Speaker 2 (30:30):
As a matter of fact, how many people do you
think found you? Learned you from the Road goes On Forever?
Wait a percentage? That's how I found you. The live version,
which I didn't know was like also the main version.
I was like, and this, dude, and I think I
saw you at a cl like like I have a history.
I have a history of like watching you play and
listen to your music. But I was like, dang, those

live records are this good? But then that was the
version when you recorded that? Or did you know that?
Did you have a feeling that that song was gonna
be the one that pop so hard?

Speaker 1 (31:04):
It's a really good question about it, because I really
don't know. I can't assist my own songs early very well.
I mean when I wrote that song, I thought, you know,
there's up tempo, cool, got you know, some drama in
and stuff like that. But I didn't know do that.
I didn't know like that Christmas song would like give
me fourteen years on the road of Christmas shows I had.

I just have a hard time. And I'll say this
by contrast, there are songs that I think are really
great and they never catch fire. People know, they don't
hear them. But I love them and I think they're great,
and I keep doggedly trying to go, you're gonna like
this song if you listen to it, but it just
doesn't happen. So I don't really have any idea of

what really is a hit. For some reason.

Speaker 2 (31:50):
Do you have songs that were poems that you were like,
I got to turn this now into a song?

Speaker 1 (31:56):
Uh, something like that. One time, I did the exercise
where I wanted to write a song that had absolutely
no rhyme at all at all, So I really pretty
much wrote it as a poem and then but the
end goal was to make it in the song, so
then I then I added the music, so that was
that's about.

Speaker 2 (32:16):
But nothing rhyme the whole song.

Speaker 1 (32:17):

Speaker 2 (32:18):
How'd that do?

Speaker 1 (32:20):
It's great, It's fantastic. As a matter of fact, I
got this guy, guy Baptiste Homan from France to sing
it in French while I while I narrated it in
English with the music and he's you know, that great
French thing. It's just it makes it so sexy when
he sings it, you know, and I'm under there, you know,

with this under and the girl did this and this,
and it's so fantastic. So yeah, it was. It was
I've never really played for anybody. It's just somewhere and
you have it.

Speaker 2 (32:53):
Because I didn't know what you said.

Speaker 1 (32:55):
I I just I never number one I wanted to
do with it. I just it's kind of it kind
of doesn't fit unless you were like this, do some
kind of deep cutstick. But it's beautiful.

Speaker 2 (33:06):
The I have the box set, so I have the
whole the whole thing beautifully packaged. Yes, a lot of
different things. There's a DVD, there's a song book. I
was talking, there's just a lot. There's a lot there.

Speaker 1 (33:18):
Why that it started, it just became that. It was
like we started with just music and recording, and we
did record the DVD at the same time we recorded
the audio, so that all matches, uh, And after that,
you know, it was like, well, we've got to have
a songbook because this is all new content and people

should see that. So we did the song, but and
then I think Clara Roa started talking about like somebody
was doing a graphic novel, and I said, well, that
would be fun to do. So we started to get
into that, and that was the one that nearly killed
us because I never that's it's a lot of work.

Speaker 2 (33:58):
A lot of work, a lot of people drawing of it.

Speaker 1 (34:01):
Yeah, I didn't, you know, I didn't draw that. I
hired that out. But I managed the whole thing, in
the storyline and everything. But I even had to get
a guy, a dialogue guy to write the dialogue because
because I couldn't be as I wasn't as clever as
this guy was. He was really clever. So I got
so I had the storyline, the whole visual concept, but

I had to get that somebody I can't draw that well,
So no.

Speaker 2 (34:24):
I get that I wrote a kid's book and I
can't draw it all. And you know, you have to
go and find somebody who kind of represents what your
texture is, which is a hard thing to do. I
would say it would be as if you were an artist,
and not talking about you, but any artist who writes
songs but finds a song that they didn't write but
still speaks for them like that's rare that that can

actually happen. But I have friends are really great songwriters, but
sometimes there's a song that pops into their world that
they didn't write, and they're like, this represents who I
am and it's odd. And I felt that way with
finding somebody who to draw my words and thoughts. Sure
that this person has to draw what I'm feeling and
how what I'm saying, And that was a more difficult
process than I would have thought.

Speaker 1 (35:05):
Yeah, yeah, it's grabbing that feeling. That's that's that's the magic.

Speaker 2 (35:09):
There. You're going and you're doing more shows, but you're
not retired. I guess I never thought you were retired.

Speaker 1 (35:16):
Well, I retired. I'm retired really from touring. So I
don't have a bus. The band that I put together
is the same band that I have, but it's just
because I was. It's going incidentally, they were. It was
I'm lucky that they still have some space in the calendar.
And then but you know, the thing is was the
the grind of touring, you know, just getting off a

tour and then preparing for the next tour and never stopped.
It never did stop. I mean, it's just like, kept going,
kept going, and I just got to a point where
I thought I was wearing everybody out. So I didn't
think in terms about like this taking a year off,
you know, and that kind of thing. I always wondered
why those people take a year off. They're like twenty
five years old and they said, no, I'm going to
take a year. OFFICE said, that's because you don't have

any man. Don't tell me that. I mean, you don't
have to take a year off. But I don't know why.
That didn't really cross my mind. I just thought at
that time, and I did feel a certain amount of
burnout going on with me. I just felt like I
was blazing through a lot of stuff. I wasn't really
phoning it in, but I was. I was. I was
definitely a little bit muddled, and I really felt like

I was losing and I did not want which is
the irony ears like, I'm still beat up, but I
did not want to be one of those people that
are all beat up and you know they're pushing them
up on the stage or getting the ladder for them
or whatever they're doing. I wanted to go in the
best I could go out, but well, I came in,
you know, and that was really part. That was a

big part of the decision.

Speaker 2 (36:44):
Are you looking forward to the shows? Yeah, like with
genuine excitement. That's cool. Did you get to revisit that
feeling that got you started, made you successful and gave
you longevity? Because it does it doesn't go away. But
if you eat wonderful steak every day, it eventually just
becomes steak. It doesn't matter what it is. If you

do it all the time.

Speaker 1 (37:05):
It just becomes normal, right sir.

Speaker 2 (37:08):
But to be able to get that again has got
to be exciting.

Speaker 1 (37:10):
No, it's really good. It's you know, I'm so glad
that I did kind of get off my high horse
about I'm not going to do anything because the couple
of shows that I've played since we did this had
just been you know, they've been in this huge boost.
And I also realized that there was a certain amount
of just adrenaline going on there that like as soon

as like it got two days or two days before
a show and or day a couple of day after
is always kind of a little bit of a letdown.
But up to the show, I just got this huge
boost and I feel better than I ever felt like
two years, you know, like, oh man, I feel so good,
And it was all just because it's like I know
what I'm doing. This is a place where I know

what I'm doing and I'm gonna and I'm ready to
go with it. You know.

Speaker 2 (37:59):
So you ever say the wrong place on stage?

Speaker 1 (38:03):
Oh? Yeah? Yeah?

Speaker 2 (38:05):
Did you ever start? When did you start writing it?
When I would tour, I'd have to write it like
I do comedy, stand up comedy. After eventually I got
smart and wrote it down, because you know, two or
three nights in a row you're traveling, you kind of forget.
You're just going on back doors and places you can
easily forget. When was that? When did that bill go off?
For you? Like, I should probably keep this around where.

Speaker 1 (38:21):
I can see where I am, somewhere in ann Arbor.
I was in ann Arbor and I got up and
it was just kind of a showcase Steve Neil and
I got up there and I said something like, you know,
hello Gary, Indiana, and I just as you can't do
that again. But I don't write it down like you do, Bobby.
What what I do is like if I realize that
it's gonna blank out my brain, I just go, but

it's great to be here.

Speaker 2 (38:46):

Speaker 1 (38:47):
Yeah, Vegas, Vegas. That could possibly be.

Speaker 2 (38:49):
Yeah, I obviously I'm not the one that invented this,
but I would put it on the set list. But
then I would make it like part of the set list,
so if whenever somebody got the set list, they would
think I was making it special. Yeah, you know, if
I'm in Boston, wow, this is his dot. No, I
just need to remember that I was in Boston because again,
and you would know this more than I do, it's
not it's fun and it's amazing in it For me,

it's fulfilling, but it's not that glamorous because again you're
just going on back doors and you're killing a few
hours in between soundcheck and the show in a bus
or and not a lot of glamour, not a lot
of people. You know, people, it's a grind.

Speaker 1 (39:26):
No, I tell people. You know, you that bus there,
you think it's like luxurious and cool, and it does
look nice inside, but basically it's a traderhouse on wheels
and there we're just rolling down the highway in a traderhouse.
So don't don't get all knocked out about the whole idea.

Speaker 2 (39:42):
You know, yeah, it is fine. But anything you're in
all the time also is like that steak.

Speaker 1 (39:47):

Speaker 2 (39:48):
And the first night back in a bus because the
touring for me is like country touring. Uh, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Friday, Saturday,
the first night back in the bus anytime, and I'm
in a bed and they hit the road. The side wrote,
I never sleep well the first time rumbull strip scare
the crap out of me. Can you sleep on a bus?

Speaker 1 (40:09):
On and off? I'm not always good. I'm not one
of those guys that just like, oh now I can sleep.
There's people that can't sleep in real life and they
can sleep on a bus.

Speaker 3 (40:19):
The Bobby Cast will be right back. This is the
Bobby Cast.

Speaker 2 (40:33):
Do you have anything from any other friends or contemporaries
that they like, Hey, I want you to have this
hat or this guitar or something special to you that
you've you've kept either at your house or anything like
any memorabilia type stuff.

Speaker 1 (40:46):
I got a hat from just being at hats. I
got a hat from Bill Herne, who's out in Santa
Fe and he's a long time musician. He's been like
he plays at the Lafonda and these little hotel rooms
and stuff, and he has he has about one percent
sight born like that right. But he's a great singer,
a great, great flat picker. And I've been friends with

him a long time. And he gave me a hat
with a it's a it's a what they the crease
would be. They call it a gus. I used to
call it atom mix. But it's creased down this way
and goes slopes down forward, and it has this big
band around it and it has all these little icons
of stuff, you know, there's the road goes on forever

and and Christmas stuff and it's about that. Why it's
a beautiful hat. So that's that's when I like, you know,
I keep up there right on my dresser. So it
reminds me, like, you know, I got some really good
friends out there, and this music that's cool there.

Speaker 2 (41:43):
What do you what do you do? What do you
have that is non musically or art related at all?
That it's kind of a safe place or a disconnect?
Is it fishing? Is it?

Speaker 1 (41:57):

Speaker 2 (41:57):
I q Q dogs?

Speaker 1 (42:01):
I know I have a great dog. I've wrote his
English Cocker Spaniel and uh I've been working like last
year with a trainer training him and even uh the
trainer had to move from Lakey, Texas to Kansas, and
I even took him up to Kansas and stayed stayed
a while with his family, and uh, you know, he

showed me a lot of the things that he does.
And I always thought the whole dog thing would be
just a huge pain in the ascid. It is really
hard and a lot of work, but it's kind of
worked that's really satisfying. And like like I say, I
got this really great dog and he's he was born
to find birds. I mean, he's our here. He came
fully fully equipped except for just the fundamentals about sid

stay and hear that kind of thing.

Speaker 2 (42:47):
But we had good bird dogs. We had a great
quell dog. There were point for it felt like hours. Yeah,
just point he'd identified them. Yeah and just hold just whole.

Speaker 1 (43:00):
I don't know how people get those dogs to do that.

Speaker 2 (43:03):
And we had a couple that weren't as good, but
that was like the so everything was always compared to him.
And then we had a great duck dog and duck dogs. Yeah,
I don't want to get wet, you know, lab black
lab like identify before I even hit I did it,
gone boom, bring it back before we could actually fight
about who shot it, because you know, everybody, everybody shooting up.

But yeah, we had really those two dogs. But all
of their discipline, you know, obviously translated into like their
normal life. They were great freaking dogs.

Speaker 1 (43:35):
Oh right, yeah, no, no, that yeah, they're all around
great dogs. I mean, you know, I had some labs,
but and and I had one English Cocker spander. He
could care less about a bird, but he's a beautiful
dog and a nice dog. But uh then I got Roady,
and Roady's he's all of it. He's he's a great dog.
As a matter of fact, I got so sick about
a year and a half ago that I just thought

I was gonna be a bit. And I give him
credit for saving my life because he would I would
be out there by myself and he would come and
just lay with me, and then like when I'd fall asleep,
he'd run out and chase the cats for a while
or something and go eat. And then as soon as
I just even made a stir like I was going
to get up, Boomi's right there. He's like, like, thank you, Roady.

Speaker 2 (44:20):
That's awesome. I want to talk about let's Valet because
we were talking about Western Chill before you came in
and just talking about the project and what it is.
But I do want talk about Let's Valet just because
the story that was kind of attached to it is,
like I said, I don't know. It felt to me
like there's some mystery guy in a luchador mask named
Taylor walking you around town, getting you in back doors
and places.

Speaker 1 (44:39):
So it's actually a Taylor, soone.

Speaker 2 (44:42):
See, that's why I'm asking. I felt like it was
a guy in a wrestling mask. I didn't want to
know who he was. So that's in Nashville. So walk
me through that story.

Speaker 1 (44:50):
Okay, So I was, I was. It was CMA week
and I was doing some stuff for being mine. They
sent me out to do some red carpet stuff and
I was a fish out of water for sure, And
so I knew this this lady Taylor, but she volunteered
to come take me around and do this, and she
was great at it. I mean she just slip in there,

slip out, you know how it is. It's like you're
pushing you in. You got to talk to this guy. No,
you can't talk to this guy. And so she was
she's getting us through. And we got downtown down there
on you know, Broadway in fifth right by the Rhyman
so and it was just packed. There were no parking spaces.
And I said, what do we do, Taylor? And she said,
let's valet. And I said, man, people have told me

that I should write a song about their grandma who's
always cooked cookies or something, or they used to have
a tiger in their backyard and that would make a
great song. And I always go, this is a terrible
da and but and I said, but let's Valet. That's
a song title. I don't know how it's gonna play out,
but it's a song title. As soon as I write it,

I'm gonna you get the co write on this one.
She's okay. So so I wrote the song and then
I a couple of weeks later, I ran into I
had one line that was kind of clunky, and I
ran in my friend Dean Dylan, who's just mister you
know everything and writing. He's a Stephen Somnheim of country
music basically, and and I said, well, can you help

me with this this line? You can go oil robber dull.
Let me hear a little bit of the song. So
I've just played him a little of it and he's
just like, well, here's the line and that's it. So
it's a three way co right between Dean and Taylor
and MEA.

Speaker 2 (46:33):
Final two questions out for you. Are you a photographic memory?

Speaker 1 (46:36):
No, No, I have. I have a great memory for numbers.

Speaker 2 (46:41):
Do you see them differently? It's in what way my
wife sees words differently? She can when she speaks it,
or someone speaks to her every words written out in
front of her in a conversation, so she can spell
words backwards for wow, like she has.

Speaker 1 (46:54):
Well I want that, yeah, me too.

Speaker 2 (46:56):
The problem is when I get we get to have
a disagreement and we're arguing about who said what. I know,
either she's absolutely right and I can't prove she's wrong,
or if she's making it up, I still can't prove
she's wrong because she always has she just has she kidding. Yeah,
some people when they play an instrument, I don't have this.
They see different they see numbers or they sell in
colors or so how do you how do you think

your version of numbers is different than like mine, where
I'm not very good at numbers, Like how do you
see them?

Speaker 1 (47:24):
Number numbers do just flash up in my head and
like if someone you know somebody? I know all the
president's birthdays. I know, I know tons and tons. Wow,
those birthdays, I know them in an order.

Speaker 2 (47:36):
You know every president's birthday. Enough for me to fact
check that statement right now. Hey, Mike, we looked us up.
Got him up right now, so I can name any president,
even the most obscure president. By the way, he has
no phone out. This was not set up ahead of time.

Speaker 1 (47:53):
Will you McKinley, it's the twenty ninth of January.

Speaker 2 (47:57):
Mike, will you please tell me William McKinley's birth today,
twenty ninth January. This is crazy. I gotta do one more.
I can't believe that you can do this. This is wild. Okay, okay, okay,
how about what's the most absolute most obscure president. Okay,
I'm just gonna go with Garfield.

Speaker 1 (48:18):
Garfield is the nineteenth of November.

Speaker 2 (48:20):
Okay, mikey it is the nineteenth of November. When when
did you know? And how did you use this to
your advantage? This is like a superhour. It's like if
Spider Man never used his webs. Like, this is crazy.

Speaker 1 (48:32):
I just, you know, I knew, I knew numbers, and
and I'm you know, kind of I'm not like academic
about presidents, but I do like the presidents. And I thought, well,
you know, I could just memorize all these guys from
George Washington all the all the way through Biden and
and I you know, I bet I could do it.
It didn't take me very long at all. So I

just I just memorized them. I used to have I could.
I can snatch onto the year every once out, but
the year is a little bit harder.

Speaker 2 (49:01):
What about do you know? So then you know every
president in order? Huh, that's crazy. I don't even like
challenging him because I just believe him. He just crushed
nailing two president's birthdays. Holy crap. Well, final final question,
how much do you want to write from here out?

Speaker 1 (49:20):
I want to write music music.

Speaker 2 (49:22):
Yeah, that's a good question.

Speaker 1 (49:24):
I don't have a real good answer for that, because
I want to. I want to. My prose has gotten better.
Like I said it was bad, my prose has gotten better.
I enjoy it more. I like, I like writing these poems.
And this kind of frightens me. Bobby is like somebody
told me that what Spotify gets six hundred thousand songs
a month or something crazy, And then there's a hologram

in Japan that has one hundred and seventy five thousand
downloaded AI created songs, and it's just like, well, where
do you find the place and all of that. So
it's that's a discourag for me, you know. But I mean,
I'm me, so I'm going to have my own take.
But I'm just in the wash of everything. I just

don't know if it's all going to be washed out.
I mean, I do I do cotton to this idea
is that I am an artist and it's really my
job to keep exploring that and keep walking into that unknown.
And so that's what keeps me going as far as
writing songs, but as far as like having a plan
on it. Herbert Hoover, Herbert Hoover is the tenth Well,

that's that's a split because he's well, there's some people
say he's eleventh of August. Man, he's the tenth of August.

Speaker 2 (50:36):
Okay, Well, let's fact check that first. I'm listened to
the tenth of August.

Speaker 1 (50:39):

Speaker 2 (50:40):
Why why is there the disagreement?

Speaker 1 (50:41):
When he was I don't know. I ran it into
a book that there was because he was an orphan.

Speaker 2 (50:46):
This is the coolest party trick I've ever not the
orphan part, the part you nailing that. This is the
coolest thing that's ever happened here. I'm just throwing dates
at you. I remember my birthdays. Robert rol Keene again.
Go to Robert rol Keen dot com, which we mentioned
earlier Western Chill June seventh. You may hear this months
after June seventh. That means it exists right now, and

it's got so much in it. It's box set in
box set form twenty twenty three, the CD, the vinyl,
the graphic novel, which, by the ways, about one hundred pages. Yeah,
that's significant. Yeah, my kid's book was like twenty one pages.
That's nothing. You've heard of what you did, the play
along sing Along songbook, the DVD. Just been a big fan,

Thank you for a long time. Was introduced to you
when I was like twenty two and moved to Austin
and was like, you don't know Robert Rokeana And I
was like I don't, And then very quickly you learn
who Robert Rolkeina is. When you live down there, so
it's really cool. Thank you for coming over and spending
some time with me, and I wish you the best
of luck with this project.

Speaker 1 (51:48):
And whatever else I'm memorizing. Taft Oh, William Howard tafting
the fifteenth of September. There's only two virgos in the
in the whole presidential deal.

Speaker 2 (52:02):
Here's the other one LB of course. All right, thank you, Robert,
that's funny.

Speaker 3 (52:11):
Thanks for listening to a Bobby Cast production
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