courtesy of the artist
John Hiatt and Robert Earl Keen.
John Hiatt and Robert Earl Keen. courtesy of the artist
"Christmas in the Family"
"Road Goes on Forever"
"Crossing Muddy Waters"
"Like a Freight Train"
"Tiki Bar Is Open"
"Thing Called Love"
Now in its third year, the Cayamo Cruise is basically a concert at sea: a weeklong cruise through the Caribbean with a crew of musicians on board to provide entertainment. WXPN was there for this year's cruise in February to capture some of the nautical performances, including those by John Hiatt and Robert Earl Keen.
Although his body of work speaks for itself, it's hard not to be impressed by some of the artists who've covered Hiatt's songs: Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, B.B. King and Buddy Guy are only a few of the big names who have reinterpreted his work. His gruff, idiosyncratic voice only seems to gain more character with each passing year, and Hiatt seems determined to put it to use, with six albums released in the past 10 years alone. His latest record, The Open Road, abounds with the driving, blues-inflected garage-rock he's been honing throughout his career.
Although he began his career as a newspaper writer, Robert Earl Keen has been putting out records filled with classic folk-country for more than 20 years. While studying at Texas A&M, he learned to play guitar and began writing songs with friend Lyle Lovett. After gaining a foothold in the Austin music scene, he decamped to Nashville, hoping to land a record deal. Disillusioned with the polished sound of mainstream 1980s country, Keen moved back to Austin and continued to develop his material on his own. With his debut album, 1989's West Textures, Keen set a template that he would stick to throughout his career: a blend of acoustic folk balladry and raucous barroom country.
In addition to live performances from the Cayamo Cruise, this special edition of World Cafe also features a joint interview with Hiatt and Keen.