Keegan McInroe – Dusty Passports & Empty Beds


Keegan McInroe - Dusty Passports & Empty Beds

Keegan McInroe – Dusty Passports & Empty Beds
Format: CD – Digital
Label: Independent
Release: 2024

Release date: June 7, 2024

When the world went into lockdown in the spring of 2020, Texas songwriter and international troubadour Keegan McInroe holed up at his mother’s home in Dublin, TX, to ride out whatever was to come with his family

After being in steady motion for ten years, the sudden halt was jarring. Combined with the uncertainties surrounding the turning upside down of life as everyone knew it, McInroe was left with some serious internal churning to process and move through.

But, the artist is somewhat fortunate when faced with life’s varied stresses, sadnesses, and difficulties. From the ugly, unpleasant, and potentially damaging, something beautiful and healing can be birthed. This form of self-therapy-through-creation worked itself out in the writing of the eight original songs that became McInroe’s seventh studio album ‘Dusty Passports and Empty Beds.’

With occasional nods to the direct traumas and timeframes that gave them form – the album’s title track, for instance, ‘Dusty Passports and Empty Beds’, begins, “If hindsight is 20/20, I hope to never look back again….” – the songs mostly transcend their particular histories, touching on overarching human themes of death, grief, living well, being present, trying to find one’s place, and coping with a world that all-too-often seems beyond comprehension or salvation.

A ninth song, a fairly faithful rendition of John Prine’s ‘Lonesome Friends of Science’, in addition to being thematically significant, underscores the impact of the great American songwriter’s death on April 7, 2020, at the outset of the pandemic, while ‘John’s Songs’ is a touching, folksy retelling of McInroe’s learning of Prine’s passing – as well as the power and desired persistence of John’s music to Keegan’s own process of healing during these days.

Recorded at 7013 Sound in Fort Worth, TX, with Grant Wilborn (co-producer, engineer, mixing, mastering) behind the controls, McInroe has gathered another venerable ensemble of fellow Fort Worthian musical conjurers with Clint Kirby (drums), Aden Bubeck (bass), Patrick Smith (bass), Matt Tedder (guitar), Gary Grammer (harmonica), Chris Watson (piano, organ, keys), Jeff Dazey (saxophone), Dirt Stinnett (fiddle, mandolin, gut string), Hannah Owens (vocal), and Morris Holdahl (vocal) all contributing mightily in breathing life into the rootsy, country-tinged Americana of Dusty Passports and Empty Beds.

Those familiar with McInroe’s prior work might note that Dusty Passports and Empty Beds leans more towards the Kristoffersonian side of influence than the Waitsian, perhaps a result of the long and open days, weeks, and months that were stretched out over during the writing process, everything slowed way down, veiled in a slight melancholy, sitting in a quiet room, wearing a stubborn grin, strumming a guitar, counting blessings, hoping for the best.


01. Big Year (3:47)
02. Lonesome Friends of Science (4:52)
03. Dusty Passports and Empty Beds (3:46)
04. Ey Brother (4:31)
05. Thanksgiving Night (4:47)
06. Only to be Songs (3:53)
07. Eat Drink and be Merry (4:53)
08. John’s Songs (3:47)
09. Traveler’s Wind (3:13)

All songs by Keegan McInroe
except ‘Lonesome Friends of Science’,
by John Prine