Robert Earl Keen carries on a wild Christmas tradition

December 23, 2014 4:39 PM

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Before he'd ever recorded a song and long before he wrote a modern holiday classic that begins with the lines "Mom got drunk and dad got drunk at our Christmas party," Robert Earl Keen put together a little bluegrass band that would play events around College Station. In the 30 years since he self-released his debut album "No Kinda Dancer," Keen has assembled a remarkable collection of beautifully written narrative songs about drifters and dreamers.

He'll play bunches of those songs, including "Merry Christmas From the Family," at his annual holiday show this weekend. And with the new year comes new music: In February, Keen will release "Happy Prisoner," on which he and his band go back to their beginnings and run through some of his favorite b...

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