Robert Earl Keen Announces Retirement From Touring: “Quitting The Road While I Still Love It”

Robert Earl Keen country music

The end of an era.

The road may go on forever, but the great Robert Earl Keen won’t be touring it next year.

The Texas legend announced the end of his touring career today, which will come to a close on September 4th, 2022 with a fan appreciation party set for Labor Day, September 5th, 2022.

And while the news may come as a bit of a surprise, REK will be touring extensively up until that date so you still have some time to see him one last time.

He pointed out that he’s in good health, not in the midst of an existential crisis, and that he’ll continue to write songs and host his podcast, but quite simply that he wants to retire from touring while he still loves it… going out on his own terms.

You can read the full statement below:

“You’ve heard people say “Time flies”. It’s a cliché. Funny thing about clichés and what makes them ubiquitous, is they ring true. Jackson Browne has a line in a song that encapsulates a lifetime in the blink of an eye. It’s difficult for me to absorb the concept but, I understand it as a feeling because I feel it more and more with each passing day. BUT, it is easier to say, “time flies”. We all know what that means.

There is no way to inventory the fantastic amount of incredible people that have touched my life. My family, friends, band members, fans, co-workers, teachers, advisors, confidants, and peers only begin to tell the story. I feel connected to everyone of them. If I can picture them in “the blink of an eye” like a snapping a photograph, I’m connected. And I do believe it’s the people that come in and out of your life that make life worth living or, in unfortunate cases, a living Hell.

Fortunately, I been blessed with a lifetime of brilliant, talented, colorful, electric and magical folks throughout my life. This chorus of joy, this parade of passion, this bullrush of creativity, this colony of kindness and generosity are foremost in my thoughts TODAY. It’s with a mysterious concoction of joy and sadness that I want to tell you as of September 4th, 2022, I will no longer tour and perform publicly. I plan to continue to write songs, interview a wide variety of celebrities and contributors for our Americana Podcast. I also embrace this as an opportunity to further support the musical community and the ever expanding body of young talent on our horizon.

I’m a strong believer in clarity and truth. As much as I love what I do, it’s more important that I do it well or not at all. I’m not sick or experiencing any existential crisis. I feel that making a decision and quitting the road while I still love it, is the way I want to leave it. I’ve witnessed first hand the alternative and promised myself I would go out feeling all the love for music and performing the same way I entered- with passion and enthusiasm.

We will be touring extensively up to and through September 4, 2022 and encourage you to get our attention, if you are interested in steering a tour your way. Our last two or three shows will be at Flores Country Store in Helotes, Texas and we will throw a fan-appreciation party on Labor Day, September 5th. Details of that event will follow soon.

All booking inquires will be addressed by Lynn Cingari and Seth Malasky at Wasserman Music. All publicity inquires go to Tamara Saviano. All other inquires will be handled by Keen Productions. The details of this information will be available on my website

Thank you for all the wonderful shows throughout the years and, although it might not be apparent here, I promise, The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends.”

The impact Robert Earl Keen has had on the Texas country music scene cannot be understated.

In addition to his own studio albums, featuring popular songs like “The Road Goes On Forever” and “Corpus Christi Bay,” Keen has written songs and/or been covered by the likes of George Strait, Lyle Lovett (his former roommate), The Highwaymen, Nanci Griffith, Joe Ely, Todd Snider, and more.

He was inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012.

He joined Tyler Childers and Town Mountain for Tyler’s Red Rocks debut back in 2019.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock