Bueno, Jodi. I'm not hard to find on Facebook. Say hi anytime. Maybe my wife and I will run into you at Luckenbach sometime, or anywhere else around Texas from the Back Porch in Port A all the way up north of Fort Worth where we live. You've got a great way of voicing your opinions, which means you're interesting, so even if we disagree it'd be good to talk music over a cold one sometime.
It's funny - and somewhat indicative of the pseudo-scene in Charlotte - that the opinionated voices on this comment thread come from Texas and Oklahoma. At least it's a blessing that where we live, on the right side of the Red River, there's a broad music net that runs from Janis to Buddy, Waylon to Stevie Ray, Norah to Sir Doug, Blaze and Townes to ZZ Top.
Take good care.
Mother Hubbard, please explain how you've arrived at the conclusion that I am unsuccessful as a writer. You've sparked my curiosity.
You are correct, however, that Ray can shit out a better lyric than I can any day. Which is why I do not, and have not ever, claimed or attempted to be a songwriter.
The troll comment, though, is funny and I appreciate the laugh. Maybe we'll wind up in the same venue one day and I can buy you a Lone Star.
Fair points, Jodi, and clearly you're one of the ones his stuff works for. Music is indeed a subjective beast. For my money, two of the four artists Jud originally mentioned consistently write songs that Ray's cannot touch on any level. The other two are better singers by far, but that is definitively a subjective opinion and open to discussion.
If we're going to define legendary status by who a given artist works with, though, we're going to open up a whole big can of worms. Willie Nelson proves all the time that he'll work with anybody who's opening up a checkbook. And I love Willie, don't get me wrong. But an artist claiming that working with him legitimizes their craft is potentially well off base.
It's funny that you brought up Pat Green and Randy Rogers, by the way. Here in Texas, those two -- and frankly the bulk of the Red Dirt followers these days -- play well with the Ballcap Nation and are viewed with disdain by anyone who appreciates what Blaze Foley used to put out. At the online publication I write for, we specifically look for artists like a Brian Burns, a Houston Marchman, a Jackson Taylor or even a Mike Ness whose art is worth appreciating. For Carolina equivalents, see David Childers or The Backsliders back in the day. We leave the entertainers anybody canmindlessly enjoy (see Fowler, Kevin) to the big glossy print outfits like Texas Music magazine that'll write a glowing review for anybody willing to pay the promotional fee.
I respect the hell out of Ray Wylie Hubbard for what he's accomplished, what he's done, and what he continues to do aside from recording. And I listen to all of his records, because as a music writer it's my job to do so. But his stuff doesn't make the cut for airplay in my truck, and aside from the occasional times he's popped in at Luckenbach when I happen to be around over the years, I wouldn't spend my time listening to him for free. None of which means he shouldn't be relevant to you, or that his music can't move your soul. If it does, great. In the grand scheme of things, though, when we're talking about timeless songs borne of souls poured out on six-strings and able to withstand the test of time, it's tough not to argue that Ray is overrated. That's not the same thing as saying he sucks, or isn't worthwhile. If anything, it just points out that there are plenty of others out there worth a long look.
I'd like to thank everyone who contributed to this thread for all the laughs it provides. Author included. Reassuring to see that Charlotte's as plastic now as it was when I lived there back around 9/11. In those days cover bands were packing joints all over town while actual artists were playing to twelve people at the Double Door. The Drive By Truckers did fill the house to capacity on their Southern Rock Opera tour, but generally speaking it was awful easy to visit with George at the bar and hear terrific music without a press of stupid yuppies blathering about their BMWs and vapid blondes unable to form intelligible sentences. Sounds like y'all are all still at those other venues these days, so if I ever have to come back to town for a minute the Double Door should still be a safe haven. Or maybe the Comet Grill, or Puckett's.
Mother Hubbard's first comment confuses me. What does being friends with 3 of the 4 artists Jud mentioned have to do with anything? I can put my hands on easily two or three hundred people I know who are friends with all four, me included. And yep, every one of those artists gives RWH props for what he's meant to Texas music. Rightful, well deserved props. None of which changes the fact that Ray's best work, much like Steve Earle's, is a long way in the rearview. The primary value he adds these days is behind the scenes: the tremendous work he does either in the studio or by actively supporting younger talent. His music these days is an acquired taste, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But simply being different, gruff, edgy, whatever one wants to call it is not enough to qualify for status as the sort of legendary performer this review seems to crown RWH as being.
Anyone reading this can say maybe Jud could/should have worded his comment better. Or picked another forum to raise the topic. But it's simply not possible to realistically argue that his core point lacks intrinsic merit. Of course, exceptions are made for family as well as those benighted souls who live in the musical and cultural wasteland known as Charlotte. Bless your hearts.
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