Campus Life

Lyle Lovett And Robert Earl Keen Bring Their Hits To Aggieland For Bush Centennial

The country music stars, both Texas A&M graduates, performed as part of the 41@100 celebration in honor of President George H.W. Bush.
By Lesley Henton, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing and Communications June 14, 2024

Musicians Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen perform on stage.
Musicians Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen perform on stage on Thursday as part of the Bush 41@100 Centennial Celebration.

Photo by Chandler Arden

 

Thousands of fans packed the front lot of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum last night as country stars Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen sang in celebration of the 41st president on what would’ve been his 100th birthday.

As the sun set, fans in lawn chairs watched the free outdoor concert, hosted by the George & Barbara Bush Foundation, the culmination of a three-day series of events honoring the former president.

Although he didn’t graduate from Texas A&M, Bush nevertheless chose the university to house his presidential library and museum in 1991; the founding of the graduate school that bears his name followed six years later.

“It’s such an honor to be here,” Lovett said before taking the stage to perform. “Coming back to Texas A&M always feels like coming home.”

The singer-songwriter from Klein, Texas, earned bachelor’s degrees in languages and journalism as a member of the Texas A&M Class of 1979. He has since gone on to sell 4.6 million albums, his songs have been used on dozens of soundtracks, and he’s acted in numerous films and television shows. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M in 2015. He recently visited the university to tour the School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts, and visit with students and faculty.

“I think it makes every Aggie proud to know that President Bush wanted his library to be here,” he said, noting he’s maintained close ties to the Bush family over the years. I met Bush senior and also knew President George W. Bush. … I visited the White House several times and even played for him when he was ‘Governor Bush.’

“I got to be around President Bush Sr. and Mrs. Bush more after his presidency when they were living in Houston. Every charitable function we ever played in Houston, the Bushes were there. They were such supporters of the community — just to watch them interact with folks was a masterclass. They were so gracious and so graceful in the way they talked to people; they inspired everyone.”

Keen, Texas A&M Class of 1978, also spoke before the concert and said he was glad to be back in Aggieland, where he earned his bachelor’s in English. “It feels really good to be back. It’s been maybe a year, and A&M just keeps getting bigger,” he said. “I have a lot of friends here and I get to check out my old haunts.”

Keen, a Houston native, has recorded 20 albums and developed a cult-like following throughout Texas and beyond. He was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M in 2018.

Lovett and Keen famously co-wrote the “Front Porch Song,” an ode to a house on Church Street in College Station’s Northgate District that Keen shared with a roommate. Lovett lived nearby and the two would sit on the porch strumming guitars and picking banjos.

“I’m here for Robert Earl Keen,” said Matt Dawson-Mathur, who came to the concert with his wife Vani and their young son, Avi. “I’ve always enjoyed his music and have never seen him in concert before. We also love coming to the Bush Library.”

Read more about this week’s 41@100 events including yesterday’s festivities and Tuesday’s panel discussion.

 

Musicians Lyle Lovett performs on stage.
Musician Lyle Lovett performs on stage Thursday as part of the Bush 41@100 Centennial Celebration.

Photo by Butch Ireland

Media contact: tamunews@tamu.edu

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