Ray Wylie Hubbard: Halos And Horns

Photo by Courtney Chavanell

At his homey log cabin tucked away on a Wimberley, Texas, hilltop, Ray Wylie Hubbard is wrapping up an interview when his cell phone starts playing “Sympathy For The Devil.” It’s Judy, his wife and label president. He asks to keep that ringtone unmentioned, then changes his mind.

It’s a compliment, I say; it’s not as if she’s the devil. Besides, would she — or we — expect any less from a guy who references heaven, hell and/or the keepers of both domains (or those who tout their existence) in nearly every song — not to mention the Rolling Stones, who also show up repeatedly, along with other influences and admired peers, favorite guitars and amps, assorted sinners and saints, and snakes. And many characters who fit several of those descriptions.

On the title tune of his new release, Tell The Devil I’m Gettin’ There As Fast As I Can, Hubbard, accompanied by Lucinda Williams (his “female Keith Richards”) and country star Eric Church, name-checks the Clash, the Kinks, the Replacements, Son Volt, Strats, Gibson sunbursts and ES-335s, Vox AC30s, Ford Econolines, Austin’s Continental Club, rock and roll believers and drunken poets — a nod to “Drunken Poet’s Dream,” co-written with Hayes Carll, which appears on Hubbard’s 2010 album, A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is No C). It’s cited again in “Lucifer And The Fallen Angels,” reinforcing Hubbard’s tendency to weave certain threads through so much of his work, it’s almost as if he’s testing listeners to see if they’ll snag ‘em, like website Easter eggs.... Sign In to Keep Reading

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