CD What I Really Mean (CD 941368),
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What I Really Mean

  • 1. For Love
    2. Mr. Wolf and Mamabear
    3. What I Really Mean
    4. Great Hank, The
    5. Wild Ones, The
    6. Long Chain
    7. Broken End of Love
    8. Dark Side of the World, The
    9. Traveling Storm, The
    10. Border Tragedy, A
    11. Ride
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 9810

  • Credits
    ProducerRich Botherton
    EngineerRich Botherton; Stuart Sullivan

    Personnel: Robert Earl Keen, Jr. (vocals, banjo); Martin Monterroza (vocals, vihuela); Ray Price (vocals); Jorge Torres (guitar, background vocals); Rich Brotherton (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, cittern, mandolin, piano, synthesizer, background vocals); Marty Muse (steel guitar, dobro); Marjorie Gonzales (guitarron); Danny Barnes (banjo); Wendy Meeker (violin); Eamon McLoughlin (fiddle, viola); E.J. Jones (small pipes); John Mills (soprano saxophone); Raymundo Garcia (trumpet); Riley Osbourne (piano); Nick Connolly (electric piano, organ); Bill Whitbeck (bass instrument, background vocals); Tom Van Schaik (drums, percussion); Deani Flemmings, Sandra Miles (background vocals).
    The godfather of Austin-scene singer/songwriters, Robert Earl Keen made his reputation on a combination of country roots and a literary songwriting perspective. His songs often owe as much to O. Henry as they do to Hank Williams, and WHAT I REALLY MEAN is no exception. Keen's novelistic eye is sharp as ever, as he tells a tall tale about the aforementioned father of country music on "The Great Hank," comes on like Bob Dylan giving a lecture about small-town politics on "Mr. Wolf and Mamabear," and makes like a down-home W.B. Yeats on "The Traveling Storm."
    There's a surprisingly inventive production aesthetic at work here, too. In among the expected alt-country and roots-rock templates, there are such unexpected textures as the lilting soprano sax that mingles with nimble banjo picking on the title track, and the blend of Northumbrian pipes and percussive syncopation on "The Traveling Storm." Both musically and lyrically, Keen keeps his audience on its toes throughout WHAT I REALLY MEAN, taking left turns at every available opportunity.

  • Critic Reviews
    Rolling Stone (p.80) - 3 stars out of 5 - "Keen has always mitigated his soft twang and bluegrass instrumentation with singer-songwriterly gold sounds..."
    Mojo (Publisher) (p.118) - 4 stars out of 5 - "The songs turn on his singularly nuanced writing approach, marked by surprising detail and great sensitivity."
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