Joe Ely

Joe Ely

Joe Ely

Panhandle Rambler

Rack ‘Em Records

One can certainly point to Bristol or Nashville as being the origin points of country music, and California has had a profound impact as well, but for my money, you can’t overlook Texas. From the outlaw hippy movement from Austin, to the genre-breaking Western Swing of Bob Wills, Texas more than holds it own, and the little West Texas town of Lubbock might be it’s greatest secret. Buddy Holly was born here, Waylon Jennings grew up a few miles away, and of course The Flatlanders- Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and Joe Ely- began in the flat, hot town before finding international acclaim.

The latest from Joe Ely, Panhandle Rambler, might be one of his best, and with a career as lauded as Ely’s, that’s saying something. It’s a largely acoustic album, with nylon-string guitars entwining with the lovely accordion flourishes of Joel Guzman, and with it’s relaxed pace and expansive yet subtle vistas of sound, it feels at times as if you’re on the Mexican border (“Wounded Creek” and “Coyotes Are Howlin'”).

As with nearly every Ely album he performs a number from his good friend and band-mate Butch Hancock, and this time its the somber “When The Nights Are Cold”, and fellow Texan Guy Clark’s “Magdalene” is perfect, with Ely’s well-worn voice imploring the reluctant object of his affection to “come on” and join him before the night is over.

The record isn’t totally low-key, however. The infectious “Southern Eyes” and shout-out “Here’s To The Weary” give a hint of the Ely of old, the one that toured with The Clash. But it’s on numbers such as the poetic “Wonderin’ Where” or the pedal steel-infused “Cold Black Hammer” that Ely and crew let the music slowly unfold, making Panhandle Rambler one of the best sounding Ely releases to date. Joe Ely was recently named Texas State Musician of 2015, joining previous honorees such as Willie Nelson, Johnny Gimble and Flaco Jimenez, among others. It’s a tribute long overdue to one of Texas’ best.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band
    Preservation Hall Jazz Band

    So It Is (Legacy). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017
    From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017

    For the twelfth year, the South East European Film Festival (SEEfest) in Los Angeles showcased an impressive lineup of new features and shorts. Lily and Generoso Fierro provide a festival wrap up and their picks for the films that you cannot miss.

  • Justin Townes Earle
    Justin Townes Earle

    Kids In The Street (New West Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Christian Scott
    Christian Scott

    Rebel Ruler (Ropeadope / Stretch Music). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Kivanç Sezer
    Kivanç Sezer

    Turkish director Kivanç Sezer’s powerful debut feature, My Father’s Wings, puts the spotlight on the workplace safety crisis that is currently taking place in his homeland. Lily and Generoso Fierro spoke with Sezer at SEEFest 2017 about his film and his need to draw attention to this issue.

  • Temples

    Supporting their just-released sophomore record, UK synth-pop poster boys, Temples, attracted an SRO crowd to one of Orlando’s premier nightspots.

  • Rat Film
    Rat Film

    Baltimore. Rats. A match made in Maryland.

  • Bishop Briggs
    Bishop Briggs

    Bishop Briggs brings a stacked bill of up and comers to Orlando for a sold-out party at The Social. Jen Cray joins in the fun.

  • Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World
    Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

    There’s more than black music influencing the evolution of Rock and Roll. Native American rhymes and ideas are every bit as significant, once you know to look for them.

  • Keith Morris
    Keith Morris

    Ink 19 slings a few questions to the punk rock pioneer Keith Morris on Trump, Calexit and looking back.

From the Archives