In 1980, Keen graduated from Texas A&M and moved to Austin, Texas. Soon he was performing in Austin's nightclubs and live music venues like the Cactus Cafe and Gruene Hall in nearby New Braunfels, building a solid regional following. In 1983, Keen won the prestigious New Folk competition at the Kerrville Folk Festival.[4] That same year, he began making his self-produced first album, No Kinda Dancer, with the help of his bandmates and the up-and-coming talents of Lovett and Nanci Griffith. He leased the album to Rounder Records, which released on its Philo Records imprint in 1984. Keen began touring outside of Texas and moved with his wife, Kathleen, to Nashville, Tennessee in 1986 — at the encouragement of Steve Earle.[4] Keen returned to Texas 22 months later after failing to find mainstream success, though his time in Nashville did net him a publishing deal, a new independent label deal and a national booking agent (Keith Case). All three would pay tremendous dividends after the release of his second and third albums, 1988’s The Live Album and 1989’s West Textures (both produced by Jim Rooney and released on Sugar Hill Records) expanded his fan base both in Texas and in the rest of the country. Keen’s tour dates around that time included a triple-bill run with Texas songwriting legends Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt.[3] West Textures featured the first recording of what would soon become Keen’s signature anthem, “The Road Goes on Forever.” Fellow Texan Joe Ely recorded the song on his 1993 album Love and Danger, along with another Keen song, “Whenever Kindness Fails.”[5] Keen’s own version of “Whenever Kindness Fails” appeared on his fourth album, 1993’s Garry Velletri-produced A Bigger Piece Of Sky, which, along with the following year’s Gringo Honeymoon (whose title track and light-hearted “Merry Christmas from the Family” also became fan favorites and live staples) and 1996’s No. 2 Live Dinner, cemented Keen’s reputation as one of the Americana scene’s most popular live draws.[5] Building on the success of those albums, Keen has continued to write, record, and tour across the nation. His 1997 album, Picnic, marked the beginning of his on-again, off-again relationship with major labels (both that album and 1998’s Walking Distance were issued on Arista Records, and 2001’s Gravitational Forces, 2009’s The Rose Hotel and 2011’s Ready for Confetti were released on Lost Highway Records.) Keen’s other albums include 2003’s Farm Fresh Onions (Audium/Koch Records) and 2005’s What I Really Mean and 2006’s Live at the Ryman (both on E1 Music). The producers he’s worked on those albums have included John Keane, Gurf Morlix, Lloyd Maines, and his longtime lead guitarist, Rich Brotherton. Keen continues to tour throughout the United States.

At some point between Lubbock and Midland, the land shifts from endless cotton rows and rich farmland into pump jacks and mesquite tree filled pastures. Lubbock roots-country outfit Flatland Cavalry straddles that line between the Panhandle and the badlands of West Texas with their bright, earthy country ballads and gritty folk ramblers. Vocalist and chief songwriter Cleto Cordero’s honest, smooth songwriting revolves around the vernacular world of West Texas that he’s constructed with dusty, sun-soaked character sketches, brooding self-evaluations, and candid love songs that all have the ability to turn into singalong anthems.

Formed in the fall of 2012, the quintet was rounded up by Cordero after stretches of acoustic outings around the Panhandle town of Lubbock. With guitarist Reid Dillon, fiddler Laura Jane, bassist Jonathan Saenz, and drummer Jason Albers joining Cordero, Flatland quickly began to garner the attention of the masses with the release of the debut EP, Come May, in the spring of 2015. Building off successes of Come May, Cordero and company have been recording their full-length follow-up, Humble Folks, during the winter months of late 2015 and early 2016.

2015 - Pat Green and Roger Creager
2014 - Randy Rogers Band / Sam Riggs
2013 - Turnpike Troubadours / Aaron Watson
2012 - Casey Donahew Band / Roger Creager
2011 - Josh Abbott Band / Jack Ingram
2010 - Robert Earl Keen / Django Walker
2009 - Stoney Larue / Roger Creager
2008 - Cross Canadian Ragweed / Django Walker
2007 - Aaron Watson / Cory Morrow
2006 - Pat Green / Ryan Turner
2005 - Jerry Jeff Walker