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Gravitational Forces
     

Gravitational Forces

3.5 2
by Robert Earl Keen
 
Years of constant touring have earned Robert Earl Keen a growing and loyal following that treasures his tales of carefree wanderers, fickle women, shame-free men, and various characters lurking at the fringes of American society. Gravitational Forces, his Lost Highway debut, rounds up the usual suspects and casts their tales against a tough-minded Texas country

Overview

Years of constant touring have earned Robert Earl Keen a growing and loyal following that treasures his tales of carefree wanderers, fickle women, shame-free men, and various characters lurking at the fringes of American society. Gravitational Forces, his Lost Highway debut, rounds up the usual suspects and casts their tales against a tough-minded Texas country-rock background. Always tuneful, always heartfelt, Keen's songs and performances retain a rough, edgy quality and never go soft. "Hello New Orleans" employs a brisk, pulsating rhythm as Keen recounts the breakup of a love affair and his subsequent decision to pack it in and move on in search of the next relationship. "Fallin' out of love ain't half as good as fallin' in," he surmises with moving equanimity in "Fallin' Out," a terse, folk-styled lament that finds Keen keeping a stiff upper lip even as the heartbreak seeps out. And with his sandpapery, world-weary voice, he does justice to the beautiful melody of Johnny Cash's "I Still Miss Someone," which shuffles along at a brisk gait. On a lighter note, jubilant Texas swing is the order of the day on the raucous "High Plains Jamboree," and the album's closing title song is a surreal talking blues that finds alien life forms invading Keen's musical space, which is itself something of a tortured landscape. Nothing comes easy in Keen's songs, but his accounts of staying whole are memorable and gripping.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Scott Cooper
If anyone needs to be convinced that Robert Earl Keen is the reigning champion of Texas twangers, Gravitational Forces makes one forceful knock-out blow. The disc paints a multitude of vivid pictures backed by memorable melodies and superb instrumental backing. Keen delivers his goods early and often, starting with the singalong chorus to Joe Dolce's "My Home Ain't in the Hall of Fame." It's not perfectly clear what exactly he's singing about in the chorus -- something about his home and his songs on Top 40 radio -- but with a hook so infectious, you'll mumble along anyway. Of course, none of these tracks are destined for Top 40 radio, but they're surely bound for glory in the realm of Americana. The colorful duo in Terry Allen's "High Plains Jamboree" typify Keen's penchant for vivid caricatures. Few of us -- hopefully -- can relate to a honky tonk woman with gold teeth and a family man who spends a night at the motel lounge with her while his wife's at home. But Keen's portrait of these two slightly unwholesome but otherwise common folk brings them home like a crazy uncle, a bit on the edge but loveable just the same. After all, these two are just looking for a good time. And that's precisely what Keen delivers throughout this stellar release.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/11/2001
Label:
Lost Highway
UPC:
0008817019826
catalogNumber:
170198

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Robert Earl Keen   Primary Artist,Vocals,Noise
Ian McLagan   Hammond Organ
Rich Brotherton   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Vocals,12-string Guitar,Noise,Slide Guitar,national steel guitar,Guitar (Baritone)
Bryan Duckworth   Fiddle,Mandolin
Gurf Morlix   Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Steel Guitar,Harmonium,Vocals,Noise,Lap Steel Guitar,Guitar (Baritone)
Marty Muse   Steel Guitar
Tom Van Schaik   Percussion,Drums
Tommy Detamore   Steel Guitar
Bill Whitbeck   Bass,Vocals
Kathy Brotherton   Noise
Cody Braun   Harmonica

Technical Credits

Johnny Cash   Composer
Robert Earl Keen   Producer,Art Direction
Gurf Morlix   Producer
Stuart Sullivan   Engineer
Jim Kemp   Art Direction
Roy Cash   Composer
Bill Whitbeck   Vocal Arrangements,Tic Tac
Karen Naff   Art Direction

Customer Reviews

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Gravitational Forces 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is such a whining and boring release compared to his former albums that held so much charisma and charm. Hopefully this is just a phase.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Robert Earl Keen begins this brand new album with the song ''My Home Ain't in the Hall of Fame.'' In this song, he clearly states that he will never be in the hall of fame, and his songs don't belong on top 40 radio. He says he will keep the old back forty for his home. Well, wherever his songs are, I will be there singin' along.