Ter­rell’s Tune-Up

New al­bums from Ray Wylie Hub­bard and Steve Earle

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO - Jerusalem/The Rev­o­lu­tion Starts

The ar­rival of a new al­bum by Ray Wylie Hub­bard is more than just get­ting the lat­est from one of your fa­vorite song­writ­ers. It’s like get­ting a mes­sage in a bot­tle from some ship­wrecked sea dog from cen­turies ago, who some­how beat Poseidon in a poker game to gain im­mor­tal­ity. Or it’s akin to stum­bling across the taped con­fes­sions of an old train rob­ber who went mad hid­ing out in the desert — but still has a lot of in­sight­ful sto­ries to tell. Or maybe it’s like find­ing some old scroll with the orig­i­nal ver­sion of the Book of Rev­e­la­tions — be­fore God edited all the jokes out. Hub­bard’s lat­est, Tell the Devil I’m Get­tin’ There As Fast As I Can, is an­other fine rev­e­la­tion from the crusty old Texan, who has been on a pretty impressive roll since shortly af­ter the turn of the cen­tury. Turn­ing seventy hasn’t soft­ened Hub­bard’s edges. In fact, he only seems to get tougher and orner­ier with age. takes its place with other re­cent Hub­bard gems like and plays a sun­burst Gib­son in an un­named alt-coun­try band (they opened for Son Volt in Los An­ge­les!) who’s in love with a wo­man “who can out-cuss any man.” (Speak­ing of curs­ing women, in “Dead Thumb King,” Hub­bard growls, “I sleep with a wo­man who cusses in French”).

But the most mov­ing, and most dis­turb­ing, love song here is the tragic “House of the White Rose Bou­quet,” a mi­nor-key acous­tic tune with a fore­bod­ing man­dolin in which the nar­ra­tor lives in “a house of ill re­pute and sin” with “a young wo­man of de­sire” who “en­joyed the com­pany of rak­ish men.” I won’t re­veal what hap­pens in this story, but it doesn’t end well.

The Prince of Dark­ness is the star of a five-minute pi­caresque tale called “Lu­cifer and the Fallen An­gels.” He’s a hitch­hiker who holds up Ner­vous Char­lie’s Fire­works and All-Night Liquor Store, and may have killed a clerk in the process. But he also of­fers Hub­bard some good ad­vice about try­ing to get a pub­lish­ing deal in Nashville. “Why go to Nashville when you ain’t never go­ing to be main­stream?” the Devil ad­vises.

I have the feel­ing that Lu­cifer’s not the first per­son to tell Hub­bard that. But I don’t think he re­ally cares, at least not any­more. And nei­ther do his fans — as long as we can still hear that snake rat­tling from in­side his gui­tar. Ray Wylie Hub­bard’s web­site is www.ray­wylie.com. And check his Twit­ter feed at www.twit­ter.com/ray­wylie.

Also rec­om­mended:

So You Wannabe an Out­law by Steve Earle & The Dukes. Let’s cut to the chase: This is the best Steve Earle al­bum in well over a decade. Through most of the 1990s and into the first part of this cen­tury, Earle con­sis­tently de­liv­ered some of the finest coun­try mu­sic, alt-coun­try, coun­try-rock, or what­ever you want to call it. But at some point his al­bums started be­com­ing less and less in­ter­est­ing. It’s tempt­ing to say — as oth­ers have — that it was when his records started get­ting more and more po­lit­i­cal, but that’s ac­tu­ally kind of lazy. Some of his po­lit­i­cal songs from the early aughts — “Rich Man’s War,” “John Walker’s Blues” (a sym­pa­thetic look at John Walker Lindh, the “Amer­i­can Tal­iban”), and my per­sonal fa­vorite, the cheeky “F the CC” — are ex­cel­lent protest songs. But some­where dur­ing his Now pe­riod, the magic seemed to start wear­ing off.

But So You Wannabe an Out­law is hot stuff. It’s def­i­nitely his most coun­try al­bum. Coun­try fid­dles and steel gui­tar dom­i­nate sev­eral cuts and there are vo­cal con­tri­bu­tions from Wil­lie Nel­son on the ti­tle song, and, even bet­ter, from Johnny Bush (he wrote “Whiskey River,” kids) on “Walkin’ in LA,” which may be the honky-tonki­est song you’ve ever heard by Earle.

Other high­lights in­clude the jump­ing “The Fire­break Line,” an ode to hot­shot for­est fire­fight­ers; “If Mama Coulda Seen Me,” which, with its nasty gui­tar hook and prom­i­nent fid­dle, can be con­sid­ered as Earle’s “Mama Tried”; and “This Is How It Ends,” a break-up song that has coun­try star Mi­randa Lam­bert pro­vid­ing heart­break­ing har­monies.

By all means, check out the deluxe ver­sion of this al­bum, which in­cludes four cov­ers of Wil­lie and Way­lon Jen­nings songs from the 1970s out­law era. Th­ese aren’t ground­break­ing by any means, but Earle’s joy­ful de­liv­ery makes for a fine trib­ute.

Steve Earle will ap­pear in a ben­e­fit con­cert for the Je­suit Refugee Ser­vice/ USA with Joan Baez, Patty Grif­fin, and other spe­cial guests at 7:30 p.m. Fri­day, Oct. 13, at the KiMo The­atre, 423 Cen­tral Ave. SW in Al­bu­querque. Check for ticket avail­abil­ity at www .ki­motick­ets.com.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.