We all take pride in our colleges, especially when we are able to share our alma mater with famous alumni! For Texas A&M sophomore Jessica Smith, seeing Robert Earl Keen, a nationally acclaimed musician from Houston, and a Texas A&M graduate, was much more than an ordinary concert.

Photo Courtesy of Lily Angelle

“I was waiting for [Keen] to tell some random stories about his days at A&M . . . but then I realized I was in Austin,” said Jessica, who braved crowds of college rivals in Austin (home of the University of Texas, A&M’s biggest rival) in April to see Keen perform at Stubb’s BBQ.

As a former resident of Austin, Keen is well loved locally, and drew a reasonably large crowd to his show. Young and old people sang along jubilantly to Keen’s opening number, “What I Really Mean.” On her first time to see Keen, Jessica anticipated hearing favorites such as “Gringo Honeymoon,” and “The Road Goes on Forever,” which holds a special meaning among A&M students.

Keen closed with an encore including “Dreadful Selfish Crime” and “I Know You Rider,” and the crowd sang along to every word. Jessica was even able to snag the set list after the show, which she has hung up in her college apartment.

When Jessica drives past the LaSalle Hotel, or walks down Church Street in College Station, Texas, she is instantly reminded of Robert Earl Keen and his connection to A&M. “He used to live down Church Street with Lyle Lovett,” said Jessica. Keen even wrote about his days in College Station in songs such as “The Front Porch Song.”

Keen proves that although you can become hugely successful, you can still stay true to your roots. Keen is definitely one of Texas’ favorite native singers/songwriters, and holds much meaning within the hearts of Texas A&M students. “Knowing that he went to my school,” said Jessica, “and is part of the Aggie family is a special connection that I’m proud to share.”

Lily Angelle is a sophomore Radio-Television-Film major at The University of Texas in Austin, TX. She hopes to one day be a cinematographer or screenwriter. In her spare time she enjoys going to concerts, and often writes music reviews for the blog “30 Days Out.” Lily’s favorite bands are Weezer, The Beatles, and The Velvet Underground. You can often find her studying on campus in the Cactus Cafe, or around Austin at Home Slice, her favorite pizza place.