For Robert Earl Keen, the hook of his classic bad-boy ballad remains mostly true.
A certified road warrior, Keen is in the midst of a yearlong nationwide tour to support his latest CD "Ready for Confetti," which he proudly proclaims his best record yet. In the current stretch, the Texas-born Keen and his band are performing 10 shows in 11 days in nine different states.
Tonight, the tour bus will arrive from a date in Alabama and remain parked just long enough for Keen to headline on the State Street stage during Bristol's Rhythm & Roots Reunion. His 90-minute set should begin about 9:30 p.m.
Self-described as shy, Keen finds comfort on stage -- whether playing before 100 or 10,000.
"I like being on stage about as much as being anywhere," Keen said Thursday by phone while aboard his tour bus, somewhere between gigs in Athens, Ga., and Newberry, S.C.
"I would write a song or play a little, but when I first stepped on a stage, that's where it all came together. It was a magic moment," he said. "I'm relatively shy, but when I get on stage I feel comfortable. It's what I enjoy doing."