Robert Earl Keen Celebrates 25th Anniversary of A Bigger Piece of Sky with Special Reissue

Chris Epting
Nov 13, 2018 · 3 min read

“A Bigger Piece of Sky was the most thrilling, hair-pulling, penny-pinching, cliff-hanging, scariest record I’ve ever made,” says Keen. “I love every song on BPS.”

In 1993, Americana music trailblazer, Robert Earl Keen recorded his fourth album, A Bigger Piece of Sky. He didn’t know it at the time, but the record would be considered one of Keen’s best, a transitional moment for a career that has spanned decades.

In those decades, Keen has had the honor of working with music legends, George Strait, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Eric Church, and Gary Clark Jr., among others. His songs have been cut by several country, folk, and Texas country music musicians, including George Strait, Joe Ely, Lyle Lovett, The Highwaymen, Nanci Griffith, and the Dixie Chicks.

A member of the Texas Heritage Songwriters Association Hall of Fame, Keen later became the inaugural recipient of BMI’s Troubadour Award in 2015, which honors songwriters for their endless and outstanding songwriting creativity. And endless his creativity is, with nineteen records to his name, thousands of shows under his belt and still no end in sight to the road ahead — Keen shows no signs of slowing down.

Now, to commemorate Robert Earl Keen’s milestones and legendary album 25 years later, A Bigger Piece of Sky is being reissued by Dualtone as a limited edition sky-blue vinyl on November 16, 2018.

The album was recorded in Nashville, TN, produced by Garry Velletri, and mixed by Velletri and Jeff Coppage. It features an amazing lineup consisting of Garry Tallent (E Street Band) on upright and electric bass, Marty Stuart on mandolin, Dave Durocher on percussion, Jay Spell on accordion, Jonathan Yudkin on violin, and Maura O’Connell on vocals. It also features guest musicians George Marinelli (Bonnie Raitt) on harmony vocal and electric guitar, Tommy Spurlock on guitar, Michael Snow on tenor banjo, Bryan Duckworth on violin, Dave Heath on upright bass, and Jennifer Prince on harmony vocals.

E Street Band’s Garry Tallent remembers A Bigger Piece of Sky as one of his first Nashville sessions, “I walked in and started listening to Robert’s songs and was blown away. I was like ‘Wow, this guy is fantastic, who is this guy?’ Then I learned more and realized he is a legend!”

“We had a blast recording this record,” says producer Garry Velletri. “I remember working long into the warm sultry nights of a desolate Music Row. I’m quite proud of A Bigger Piece of Sky. I think it took Keen to the next level.”

Keen and his band worked late and they worked hard. Drummer Dave Durocher can attest to this, “Little did we know we were making what would become A Bigger Piece Of Sky, one of Robert’s finest records, and that it would stand the test of time as it has.”

The anniversary edition of A Bigger Piece of Sky is available to pre-order along with exclusive merch bundles. Watch Robert Earl Keen recall one of his favorite memories from making A Bigger Piece of Sky below.

Robert Earl Keen is currently touring with Lyle Lovett for their fan favorite acoustic tour. As it gets closer to the holidays, catch Keen’s renowned Christmas tour and Las Vegas dates with George Strait and Lyle Lovett.

Chris Epting

Award-winning journalist, author of 30 books including James Dean Died Here, Roadside Baseball; lover of music, travel, history, etc.

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