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Arts & Culture

Robert Earl Keen Sings 'Merry Christmas From The Fam-O-Lee'

Darren Carroll Photography
Robert Earl Keen

He was Lyle Lovett’s college roommate, but since college, has forged a one-of-a-kind music career. He is Robert Earl Keen, and among his many noteworthy songs, is a particularly strange one.

(To hear Keen and the song, hit Listen above)

When Keen wrote ‘Merry Christmas From the Family’ did he have any idea it was going to explode and become what it’s become?

“No, I really didn’t. I just wrote it to amuse myself. I came from Houston and so I didn’t have a Christmas song. No one ever wrote a Christmas song about Houston.”

Houston’s not exactly reindeers and snowflakes, right?

“Yeah! Hell, I never even knew what a chestnut was, you know? None of that stuff really applies to Harris County.”

‘Merry Christmas From the Family’ has become an unlikely classic that’s been a live show mainstay ever since. His band has recorded an entire Christmas album, and at this time of the year, they play it along with other Keen songs.

“We bring our Christmas show to San Antonio and we have for years now. And over the years, it’s just grown and grown to be kind of like a parade.”

His Tuesday night Tobin show features a huge set and they dress in costume. Young and old alike are welcome.

“These guys are great musicians.”

More on Robert E. Keen here.