Available on backorder


He was one of the first musical “outlaws” and remains a legend in the roots world. Yet Texas (by way of Oklahoma) icon Ray Wylie Hubbard has never broken through to a wider, mainstream audience; even in Americana, a genre whose category he predated. But it’s where his music now lives and thrives.

Perhaps that’s why he invited higher profile names in on this, his 17th studio release. While Ray’s past association with similarly styled stars such as Jerry Jeff Walker and Willie Nelson didn’t translate into substantially raising his commercial viability, Hubbard has gained a fervent cult over the decades….and many of those followers are fellow musicians

On leadoff track “Bad Trick,” Hubbard’s band– a somewhat odd but enthusiastic combination of Ringo Starr, Don Was, Joe Walsh and Chris Robinson– grinds out serious swamp rock. Hubbard barks “Everybody turns a bad trick now and then” with the grizzled growl of someone who knows that from personal experience.

It’s a powerful yet inviting opening that finds the mid-70s Hubbard in rugged, fighting form. His crusty, flinty voice sounds like a combination of Lucinda Williams’ southern drawl with the talk/sung cadence of Tony Joe White, both of whom know their way around muscular, ornery and edgy Southern roots rock. Although some established players like bluegrasser Peter Rowan, Ronnie Dunn and Pam Tillis are on board, Hubbard generally leans to younger, edgier talent.

Hubbard explores darker blues on “Rattlesnake Shakin’ Woman” with aid from the sisters of Larkin Poe. He also unplugs to pay tribute to the legendary “Mississippi John Hurt” as Pam Tillis accompanies on vocals. But the bulk of the disc finds the groove between country, swamp rock and the raw singer/songwriter approach Hubbard has honed throughout the years.