In the earnest, truth-telling world of Americana music, stunts and deceptions are almost unheard of, so last week’s reveal that enigmatic new Texas duo The Stryker Brothers are actually Robert Earl Keen and Randy Rogers is a bit of a first. Nashville writer Glenn Peoples broke the story in Billboard magazine, explaining that the 62-year-old Keen and 40-year-old Rogers, both stars of Texas songwriting and the Red Dirt music scene, got to know each other last year.
“After a successful songwriting session in April at Keen's ranch, they decided to release their work anonymously so fans could judge the music on its own merits,” Billboard reported. Rogers is quoted about the ruse: "We didn't tell friends, just spouses and managers. . .It has been fun to deny this whole thing -- and possibly crazy."
Peoples, a Nashville freelance writer, told WMOT he got a call out of the blue from a publicist offering the scoop. “The news was going to come out at some point,” he said. “They have their one and only concert next month in Austin, so they weren’t going to keep the lid on it too long.” That show is set for Dec. 22 at the Moody Theater, home of Austin City Limits.
The album Burn Band dropped on Sept. 7 complete with decoy “documentary” interviews with musicians such as Lloyd Maines (who played on the project), Cody Canada and Todd Snider. It didn’t exactly burn up the streaming services at first. The reveal will likely turn more ears toward the project, which is full of exactly the kind of good humored, classic feeling country music one would expect from Keen and Rogers.
Its other claim on history will be the original song “Charlie Duke Took Country Music To The Moon,” a musical account of the astronaut who arranged to take tapes featuring custom recordings of Merle Haggard, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton and others on the Apollo 16 mission in 1972. Duke is reportedly a neighbor and friend of Rogers.
All this said, Saving Country Music blogger Kyle Coroneos successfully speculated that the project involved Keen back in August.