When F. Scott Fitzgerald issued his classic conclusion that ‘There are no second acts in American lives,’ he failed to envision the career of legendary Texas troubadour Ray Wylie Hubbard. A willing conspirator in the late seventies Cosmic Cowboy revolt that ushered in the mythical Outlaw era, Hubbard was a catalyst in the cultural upheaval that led to the peaceful coexistence of Lone Star music enthusiasts who comprised each end of the social and political spectrum of that troubled time. In the stellar company of iconic colleagues like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Doug Sahm and Jerry Jeff Walker, Ray Wylie Hubbard was an architect of the musical legacy that continues to inspire subsequent generations of up-and-coming Texas talent.
Yes, Hubbard is a Texas singer-songwriter, complete with the classic trifurcated handle, fundamental chapter of the canon in his song catalog (“Redneck Mother”), and enough wild hairs in his past to qualify him as a legend. But along the way, his attention began to leave matters extraneous to his art and soul by the wayside and focus on the beauty and potential to be found in the blank canvas of, in his case, the yet to be written and recorded song.
The result has been one of the most satisfying musical and lyrical journeys to witness over the last decade or so. In the years that followed he evolved into a writer of uncommonly honest portraits of life, alternately mixing deep personal sagas with poignant character studies of those traveling on the dark side of the road. If one wanted to describe the sound of Ray Wylie Hubbard, one could call it American music, born from the time honored traditions of folk, country and roots rock.