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Ready for Confetti by Robert Earl Keen

Serendipitously, Robert Earl Keen’s last name happens to describe his sense of humor and wordplay, characteristics that often dominate his work. His latest musical mixed bag is no exception, peppered with literate and wry observations of misguided characters (“I Gotta Go”) and clueless egotists (“Top Down,” “The Road Goes On and On”).

While Keen’s well-aimed jabs at the self-infatuated on the abovementioned tunes can’t help but produce a knowing chuckle, the most deeply and consistently satisfying songs here are those that display the at-times offbeat Texan’s more compassionate side. The comforting “Lay Down My Brother” gently exhorts life-raveled travelers to rest awhile, the lively, loping “Show the World” puts a positive spin on tough times and the gospel classic “[Where the] Soul of Man [Never Dies]” anchors the ragtag collection with redemption.

Ranging from jazzy jaunts to breezy tropical confections and varied country and blues hues, the sometimes-scattered Ready for Confetti is a multicolored parade in which even the shovel-pusher walking behind the horses can find that hope happens, too.

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