Friday, August 19, 2005

"Screw You, We're From Texas"

Thirty dollars a pop for dinner and a show at Courville's. The dinner, such as it was, was all the gumbo and potato salad you care to eat, until it ran out. But the food wasn't what I was there for. It was the show: Texas music legend Ray Wylie Hubbard. And it was just him and his guitar (and occasionally his harmonica). He said he has a band he usually works with, but it's a work release program, and they aren't allowed to leave Travis County. It didn't matter. He did just fine without them.

Ray Wylie Hubbard is cursed with being the author of "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother," a song made into an outlaw country anthem by Jerry Jeff Walker. Cautionary words from the man himself: Before you put the words down on paper, think long and hard about whether you want to be singing it for the next 32 years.

This was not my first experience with Courville's. That was last November when I saw future Texas music legend Hayes Carll. Mr. Carll put on a great show, but far too few people saw it. Mr. Hubbard had better luck. Despite an apparent total lack of promotion, the place was packed. There was an opening act who was pretty good, but I can't remember his name. Next time I'll have to take notes.

Anyway, towards the beginning of the show, he said: "I pretty much just write these songs and talk about them a lot." And that's pretty much what he did. Not the writing part, but he did perform them and talk about them a lot. And he talks about them a lot better than just about anyone else I've seen. He's a great story teller. A good time was had by all.

He had thirty-something years of his own material to draw on, but that didn't stop him from doing one of Eliza Gilkyson's songs and another from Cross Canadian Ragweed. There was, of course, the obligatory "Up Against the Wall," sing-along which is a lot more fun live than it is recorded. Another one that's a lot more fun live is the title track of this post-- "Screw You, We're From Texas" (from the album Growl). But I think the highlight of the show was the second song, "Without love (We're Just Wastin' Time)" from the "Dangerous Spirits" CD (a five star album according to Wang's Record Reviews). Purdiest thing I've heard in a long time.

(Note: The links to the album titles are to Ray Wylie Hubbard's website rather than because he sells them $3 cheaper.)

I hope to see him back in Beaumont soon, but I expect I'll have a much better chance of catching him at The Mucky Duck in Houston. In the meantime, the Courville's concert schedule includes a performance by Hayes Carll on October 15 (I think), but the Mucky Duck seems to think Carll's playing there on that date. Carll's site doesn't mention either. Stay tuned for further developments. (Edited to add: Further investigation has revealed that it's Courvilles on the 13th and the Mucky Duck on the 15th.) But in the meanmeantime, Hayes Carll's scheduled to play at The Old Quarter in Galveston on September 16. And for tonight, there's Texas guitar legend Eric Johnson at Antone's. More on that later.

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Blogger Laurie said...

Sounds great. I can't wait for the Eric Johnson review.

Friday, August 19, 2005 11:31:00 PM  

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