Farm Fresh Onions

Farm Fresh Onions

by Robert Earl Keen
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Farm Fresh Onions

Robert Earl Keen has spent much of his career on the road, and those experiences give Farm Fresh Onions its mission. But this time out, Keen's songwriting is more focused and insightful, and his road band backs him up with some versatile instrumental prowess, ranging from blues to hard country to '60s-influenced rock 'n' roll. "Furnace Fan" is a lean, snarling account of a boiling-hot day in Arizona that started badly but evolved into a celebration when a grateful audience made the band feel special. An insistent stomp and taut guitars à la early Elvis Costello put the octane into "All I Have Is Today," a bittersweet chronicle of the road's disorienting, soul-deadening nature. Keen's sideways sense of humor emerges intact on the percolating title song, which may well be positing, in its southern soul–style groove, the farm fresh onion as a barometer of true happiness. In the Tex-Mex-flavored strut of "Gone On" Keen advises, in his wry observations about love and friendship, that nothing lasts and everything and everyone changes, a truism of which he approves. And in "So Sorry Blues," a deep, roiling urban blues featuring some scalding guitar work by Rich Brotherton, Keen's "so sorry" is addressed to all the people he's going to disappoint by living comfortably with his self-destructive ways. On the recondite text and dirgelike rhythm of the haunting, introspective "These Years," Keen paints a gripping portrait of a man with nowhere to turn in his darkest hour. Keen's getting into Warren Zevon territory with these twisted tales and dark humor, and that's not a bad place to be.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/07/2003
Label: Koch Records
UPC: 0684038819126
catalogNumber: 8191

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Robert Earl Keen   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Shawn Colvin   Vocal Harmony
Ian McLagan   Organ
Rich Brotherton   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Piano,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,Mandola,national steel guitar,Lap Steel Guitar,Vocal Harmony,Guitar (Baritone)
Marty Muse   Pedal Steel Guitar
Riley Osbourne   Organ,Clarinet,Piano
Leeann Atherton   Background Vocals
Tom Van Schaik   Percussion,Drums
Bill Whitbeck   Bass,Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Eamon McLoughlin   Violin,Viola

Technical Credits

James McMurtry   Composer
Rich Brotherton   Producer,Engineer
Jay Hudson   Engineer
Robert Earl Keen   Composer
Steve Starnes   Engineer
Bill Whitbeck   Composer

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Farm Fresh Onions 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well, it's time again for a new Robert Earl Keen CD. A fresh one from the garden! “Farm Fresh Onions” got it’s name from a challenge from his wife Kathleen referring to a mesh bag that sported such a label, but actually contained South Texas grapefruits. Kathleen suggested that Robert write something with that name. I began my experience with this new project by "peeling" the onion of its cellophane skin. Keen's style has evolved over the last 20 years from simple folk tinged ditties to the more recent electric sets with occasional country standards. The new album is no different from this trend. At this rate Robert will be doing full-scale punk or at least grunge by the time he is 50. Just Kidding! The opening song "Furnace Fan" brings us a tale from the road and the new Olympic sport of "Smush Ball". Smush Ball is a game in which there is a challenge to throw a paper wad into somebody else's cup holder on the tour bus. Many of the tracks on this new effort have a central theme of traveling. This seems appropriate for an artist that spends as much time touring as Keen does. The instrumentation is it's usual tight sound lead by producer/Guitarist Rich Brotherton, a guest appearance from Shawn Colvin and keyboards by Ian McLagan(Small Faces & Faces). The only non Keen written song is "Out Here In The Middle" which was penned by James McMurtry. "Train Trek" almost sounds if either "Casey Jones" or "Sixteen Tons" was an influence because of all of the mentions of "number nine coal" and an impending train wreck! The title track and "Floppy Shoes" are fun little numbers that sounds like they stepped out of the late sixties including a Clavinet that sounds as if it came from a Stevie Wonder or Billy Preston song. "Gone On" is more toward a traditional my baby walked out and left me behind number. "So Sorry Blues" is the first foray into Blues that I've heard Robert Do. This song is a lament about the lazy man that Keen proclaims himself to be. The beat is a little slower than most blues songs to accentuate the laziness. He says, "I plan to quit procrastinating, then decided I should wait". "Beats The Devil" almost sounds as if the vocals were recorded underwater. "These Years" "Famous Words" and "Let The Music Play" sound like Keen from an earlier era. These songs will please many long time listeners who were used to the more acoustic sounds from Keen's early years. At last we've reached the core of the Onion and the raucous hidden track shows Keen may have reached my earlier prediction ahead of schedule. This is what I used to refer to as South Austin Progressive Punk Country. All in all it sounded if the guys had a lot of fun making this record. This album is on par with the last few efforts and should spend a lot of time in your CD player. It is worth the purchase and worth going to a show if the tour comes through your town!!! Support Robert Earl Keen!!! Support Live Music!!! Support non-commercial and Americana Radio!!! Find the Onion in yourself!!!