Featuring Tony Joe White, Tish Hinojosa, Kevin Welch, Kieran Kane, Mike Henderson, Jimmy Lafave, Sara Hickman and Lucinda Williams.
A singer-songwriter must, by definition, describe and comment on the behaviour and emotions of his fellow human beings. He is, as it were, a behavioural psychologist par excellence, chronicling our adventures on this earth and that's exactly what brings out the best in Ray Wylie Hubbard!
As one of the most distinguished representatives of the "Outlaw Movement"
and leader of the gang of hardcore troubadours, it's good to see Ray back in his boots and on the trail. His come-back album Loco Gringo's Lament was one of the best-received country/singer-songwriter albums released in 1994. His wonderful, warm voice and his ability to paint his characters living on the edge of life with unsurpassed vivid-ness have made him one of the truly greats. The fame that be-fell him with his hippie anthem Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother, made into a hit by Jerry Jeff Walker, has recently been rekindled and he has stepped back into the limelight.
This album does more than just justify that place, as it is a wonderful collection of miniature road movies, intriguing re-flections on the world around us. The album is pervaded with the hidden areas of life, those mystifying regions of the human psyche and the heart, those roads meandering between despair and hope. And if any modern-day bard is entitled to relating to us what drives people up and down these mysterious lanes of life, it's Ray Wylie Hubbard, because he has travelled them all.
The versatility of the, all original, tracks shows that Ray is still maturing as a songwriter: on the powerfully rocking ope-ning (title) track the band really lets loose, with guest Mike Henderson using his guitar as a battle axe. There are several subtly swinging country tunes with which he sets the Texas dancehalls ablaze; but, as usual, we find Ray at his best in the highlights, the "outlaw ballads", of which The Last Younger Son (about the days of Jesse James) and crowd pleaser Crimson Dragon Tattoo really stand out.
The album was made with a fully-fledged band behind him; of course his buddy Terry "Buffalo" Ware is there on guitar, co-producer Lloyd Maines also features on guitar, Dave Heath and Paul Pearcy are the solid rhythm section.
He has been given support by such luminaries as Tish Hinojosa, Jimmy LaFave, Sarah Hickman, Kevin Welch and Lucinda Williams (all on back-ground vocals) Tony Joe White (on acoustic and electric lead guitar in The Last Younger Son), Kieran Kane (mandolin in Wit-hout Love); there is also the aforementioned Mike Henderson and the notorious "Iggy Starmaker" on tambourine, which pseudonym (as heard through the grapevine) refers to the inimitable Rick Jones. All this support should be more than sufficient proof that Ray's fellow-musicians, too, have come to value him highly.
released January 28, 2014
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