Robert Earl Keen performs in concert at ACL Live At The Moody Theatre on February 25, 2021 in Austin, Texas.
Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images

Texas Country Great Robert Earl Keen Announces Retirement as Live Performer

Foundational Texas country singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen will retire from touring and live performances in September 2022. Keen made the announcement Friday (Jan. 14) through a statement on his website.

"I [have] been blessed with a lifetime of brilliant, talented, colorful, electric and magical folks throughout my life," Keen wrote in a post titled "Time Flies." "This chorus of joy, this parade of passion, this bullrush of creativity, this colony of kindness and generosity are foremost in my thoughts TODAY."

Keen's victory lap culminates on Sept. 4 when he caps off a string of appearances at Floore's Country Store in Helotes, Texas. A fan appreciation party follows at Floore's on Labor Day (Sept. 5), with no additional details shared yet for the latter.

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The letter clarifies that Keen's retirement has nothing to do with health issues.

"I'm a strong believer in clarity and truth," he wrote. "As much as I love what I do, it's more important that I do it well or not at all. I'm not sick or experiencing any existential crisis. I feel that making a decision and quitting the road while I still love it, is the way I want to leave it. I've witnessed first hand the alternative and promised myself I would go out feeling all the love for music and performing the same way I entered — with passion and enthusiasm."

Keen also shared the news on social media with a four-minute video.

The Houston native will continue beyond September as a songwriter and the host of his Americana podcast.

A Texas A&M classmate of Lyle Lovett, Keen became a guiding force in the Austin songwriters scene in the late '70s.

Keen's legend beyond the Lone Star State's borders began with his debut album, 1984's No Kinda Dancer. He's since gained notoriety for such live crowd-pleasers as "The Road Goes on Forever" and "The Front Porch Song." His most recent studio album, Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions, came in 2015.


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