And, in fact, that’s pretty much what Lovett and Keen did in their 2.5 hour-long concert in Boise on March 19. Except that the reminiscing was through songs, often accompanied by a story. Sometimes they’d harmonize; often they’d sing solo with the other watching and listening.
Sometimes it was a little raunchy; often times it was a little sad. But the show was intimate; you felt like you were looking at two guys who, after some 40 years of very public lives, were still authentic, still in touch with their roots, and still connected as friends. The song in the video above was co-written by Lovett and Keen, talking about the front porch on the house Keen rented in college, where Lovett and others would come to sing and talk. They performed that song, “This Old Porch,” in the course of the show, sharing the singing, two old friends, remembering when they were younger and things seemed simpler.
Over the course of the evening, watching and listening to the two trade yarns and songs, a listener came to feel that he knew where these two guys had come from, where they had been and some of the bruises and scars life had left on them. It was better than each singing their hits – although we heard some of those during the show – or flogging their latest albums. There was an obvious pleasure that these two men took in each others’ company. And an equally obvious pleasure in sharing those memories with a warmly appreciative audience.
Lyle Lovett, in his quiet, understated way, has become a national treasure. Robert Earl Keen is a fine songwriter and guitarist. The two on stage together were warm, charming and gave the crowd a wonderful evening. Great fun.