The word "hippie" has a bad connotation. Hippies don't mind because that's the way of the hippie. In fact hippies love to call themselves hippies.
In music writing, as with anything worth doing, there's always the pull of undeniable predilections, the force of personal bias and pure subjectivity. And then there's the way I feel about the music of Ray Wylie Hubbard.
Ten years after trading in his gloves for a guitar, former Mid-South division middleweight champion, Tupelo, Miss. native Paul Thorn was offered a record contract and began his career as a touring musician. Specializing in raw and honest Southern rock and blues, Thorn has a penchant for translating his personal experiences into easily relatable tales that come from the heart.
Ray Wylie Hubbard's latest record, "The Grifter's Hymnal," has been in constant rotation in my truck for the past week. Living with it as I did, many questions arose, and I was lucky enough to be able to run them by the esteemed Mr. Hubbard recently via phone from his front porch in Texas.
Janiva Magness has made quite the name for herself these past 15 years as a soulful blues singer of precision and power. As such, one would not expect songs written by the likes of Matthew Sweet, Paul Thorn or Ray Wylie Hubbard to be on her radar.
Mystical and profane, dark and comic, soulful and in-the-groove -- the songs of Ray Wylie Hubbard have stood the test of time. In what should be the twilight of his career, he sounds as spirited and hungry as any Americana artist. The Texas maestro stopped by KDHX for songs and conversation during a rare appearance in St. Louis.