Ray Wylie Hubbard has lyrical skills
Ray Wylie Hubbard doesn’t mind being categorized as Americana. He doesn’t fit neatly into any genre but draws on folk, country, rock and blues. On Twitter he’s referred to his sound as “greaze and sleaze,” but that’s an oversimplification. The high school classmate of Michael Martin Murphey’s embraced the folk music of Tom Paxton, Dave Van Ronk and Eric Andersen, getting involved in a scene that included future “Mr. Bojangles” songwriter, Jerry Jeff Walker.
Walker recorded Hubbard’s song, “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother” in 1973, making the former English major an underground outlaw-songwriter figure.
Hubbard kicked around in bands, a respected if plateauing musician, until the late-’80s, when he credits Stevie Ray Vaughn with getting him sober. With sobriety came a new focus, and he began to discipline himself in the ways of fingerstyle country-blues guitar. He absorbed the lessons of Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson, Chet Atkins and Samuel “Lightnin’” Hopkins into his style.
Now “Wylie Lama” is considered an elder statesman of Americana. The current arc of his recording career began with 1992’s rockabilly-respecting Lost Train of Thought and runs through 2017’s Tell the Devil I’m Gettin’ There as Fast as I Can, which showcases the vivid narrative lyrical skill he’s spent a lifetime honing. His son, and guitarist, Josh is a regular member of the band, often making Ray Wylie Hubbard’s live sets a family affair.
Golden Nugget, 10 p.m. Dec. 9, starting at $29 plus tax and fee. 800.745.3000 Ticketmaster