I posted this on YouTube a few months ago, but I’m adding onto this site as well. If you’ve seen it, you can keep scrolling. If not, stop and listen.
This is a cover of a song by the great Texas songwriter Robert Earl Keen, Jr. Keen is an underrated songwriter who has a marvelous ability to describe small towns, rural life, and ordinary people. At his best, he is capable of writing deeply poetic lyrics that gave a real insight into the human condition. This song is my favorite of his. His portrayal of Mariano reminds me of countless guys I’ve known over the years: hardworking men trying to make a better life for themselves and their families despite their circumstances.
Fifteen years ago, I was playing open mic nights in Oklahoma City a couple of times a week. This song was a pretty regular feature in my set.