Cover of West Textures
"The man outside he works for me, his name is Mariano
He cuts and trims the grass for me he makes the flowers bloom
He says that he comes from a place not far from Guanajuato
Thats two days on a bus from here, a lifetime from this room.
I fix his meals and talk to him in my old broken spanish
He points at things and tells me names of things I can't recall
Sometimes I just can't but help but wonder who this man is
And if when he is gone will he'll remember me at all
I watch him close he works just like a piston in an engine
He only stops to take a drink and smoke a cigarette
When the day is ended, I look outside my window
There on the horizon, Mariano's silhouette
He sits upon a stone in a south-easterly direction
I know my charts I know that he is thinking of his home
I've never been the sort to say I'm in to intuition
But I swear I see the faces of the ones he calls his own
Their skin is brown as potters clay, their eyes void of expression
Their hair is black as widow's dreams, their dreams are all but gone
They're ancient as a vision of a sacrificial virgin
Innocent as crying from a baby being born
They hover around a dying flame and pray for his protection
Their prayers are all but answered by his letters in the mail
He sends them colored figures that he cuts from strips of paper
And all his weekly wages, saving nothing for himself
It's been a while since I have seen the face of Mariano
The border guards they came one day and took him far away
I hope that he is safe down there at home in Guanajuato
I worry though I read there's revolution every day"
Robert Earl Keen, Junior (born January 11, 1956 in Houston, Texas) is a Texan singer-songwriter. He is popular with traditional country music fans, folk music fans, the college radio crowd and alt-country fans. Keen currently resides in Kerrville, Texas and maintains a ranch in Medina, Texas.
Keen attended Texas A&M University, where he majored in English. Disappointed in the College Station music scene, he began playing guitar and learned to read and write music, basing his style on folk, country, blues and rock roots. In 1974 he rented a house from landlord Jack Boyett, where his neighbor was a then-unknown Lyle Lovett. The two became fast friends and performed together on the front porch many evenings. This eventually grew into inspiration for a song entitled "The Front Porch Song", which both would add to their repertoire.
In 1980, Keen graduated from Texas A&M and moved to Austin, Texas, where he began writing for a newspaper. Soon he was performing in Austin's nightclubs and live music venues, building a solid following. In 1984 he financed the recording of his own EP and distributed it regionally. In 1986, He moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Discouraged by the polish of the new country sound and unable to land a recording contract, Keen moved back to Austin. In 1988, he was living in Bandera, Texas with his wife, Kathleen. In 1989 he released his national debut album, West Textures. His 1993 release, A Bigger Piece Of Sky, gained wider acclaim, both amongst fans and critics. Over the next ten years, Keen would continue to write, record, perform and tour. In 1994 he performed in the musical Chippy. Keen's 1997 album Picnic features a picture of Keen's own car in flames at Willie Nelson's 1974 Fourth of July picnic/concert. He tells the story on the No. 2 Live Dinner album in the introduction to the song "The Road Goes on Forever."