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.
Performance CreditsRobert 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 CreditsJohnny 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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
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.