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a life…well, lived.

Ray Wylie Hubbard recounts his rough and tumble life and James Mann finds it well lived indeed.

a life…well, lived.

by Ray Wylie Hubbard with Thom Jurek

Bordello Records

Ray Wylie Hubbard ambled (can’t really call it “burst”) onto the scene in the early ’70s with the “song that won’t die”- “Up Against The Wall, Redneck Mother”. Recorded famously by Jerry Jeff Walker, it was instrumental in the creation of the “progressive country” movement, and now, years down the road, Hubbard puts down the guitar and crafts an autobiography- part chronological, part stream of consciousness- that longtime fans will relish as being pure Ray Wylie. Which means, if you follow Hubbard on Facebook, no punctuation or capitalization for the stream of consciousness stuff, and it suits.

Hubbard recounts his life, from his early days playing folk music in New Mexico, to avoiding the draft and being a “FFDD”- a “full-fledged dope dealer”- until he settled down with the help of AA regained his sobriety and with it, a renewed dedication to his gift. And what a gift he has. He has written some of the most compelling and descriptive songs of the last 30 years, from “The Knives of Spain” to “Mother Blues” and the legendary “Snake Farm”. Along the way he’s been kidnapped by Willie Nelson, given life advice by Stevie Ray Vaughn and honed his “one chord boogie” into an instantly identifiable mojo of a sound, with Hubbard’s adept fingerpicking and low-down growl of a voice.

This is a truly wonderful, honest look at one of the greats, who has risen above his early ways to become of one most celebrated songwriters and performers around. He has a storytellers knack for telling tales, and he certainly has lived a colorful life. He closes the memoir with a hope: “I have this dream…and it is that I may keep breathing long enough to live in a post-country-rapping-goofy-dancing-bro’-douchebag-faux-outlaw music era.” If anyone can, it will be Ray Wylie Hubbard, a national treasure and a life…well, lived.

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