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Ray Wylie Hubbard

Hubbard’s Music Stays on Track

Mother" — said Lost Train of Thought is undeniably his best recorded outing to date — never mind that he produced the entire project.

'This has been the album that I've always wanted to do, and I was finally able to do it," he said. "The ones in the past — it's had to explain ­but the ones in the vast really weren't done right."

"But this one, I really feel real good about the songs, that they're structured well, that they hold a lot of credibility as songs."

Credibility as a tunesmith wasn't always a goal of his, however.

"When I was younger, I wrote a lot of songs, like "Redneck Mother" (at age 19), you know," Hubbard explained. "But as I got older, I kind of forgot about writing and became a way."

Wylie Hubbard is probably the only man in history to "win Willie Nelson in a pool game." And he's put the victory to good use.

A veteran performer on the local as well as national honky-tonk circuit, Hubbard recently released Lost Train of Thought, a personal milestone and sixth LP of the songster's career. But the icing on the project — at least for the bearded Hubbard — is the 11‑tune disc's personal appearance by the Readheaded Stranger himself on a duet titled “These Eyes.”

"I wrote that song about six years ago, and I dragged it around for about five years," remarked Hubbard of the tune. "And Willie came in and sang on it. But, actually, I won him in a pool game (after) somebody said I oughta get Willie to do it, so he got a release from CBS (Records)."

The duet, he added "is like a waltz, only slower. It's a blues waltz, that's what it is. But don't expect to hear it on the radio too often, if at all," said Hubbard, "because, "I can't release it as a single (by order of Nelson's label), but it's still a pretty good deal."

Speaking during an interview from his Dallas home, the 44-year-old singer-songwriter - who's widely known for penning the enduring honky-tonk number titled "Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother" — said Lost Train of Thought is undeniably his best recorded outing to date - never mind that he produced the entire project.

"This has been the album that I've always wanted to do, and I was finally able to do it," he said. "The ones in the past — it's had to explain ­but the ones in the past really weren't done right. But this one, I really feel real good about the songs, that they're structured well, that they hold a lot of credibility as songs."

Credibility as a tunesmith wasn't always a goal of his, however.

"When I was younger, I wrote a lot of songs, like "Redneck Mother" (at age 19), you know," Hubbard explained. "But as I got older, I kind of forgot about writing and became a working musician, (because) I was in a band ... and I traveled around entertaining and all that stuff."

"I would write during that time, but not much, and then three years ago I started getting back into writing again. I kind of changed my lifestyle a little bit. I straightened up my act, as they say," he conceded. "And it's been over three and a half years now that we've been clean and sober, so that's helped (my songwriting) a lot."

Recorded at Garland's Sound Logic, a 24-track facility, and mixed in Nashville at Sixteenth Avenue South Studios, the tentative first single from Lost Train of Thought is the Hubbard-penned "honky-tonk gospel tune' dubbed 'When She Sang Amazing Grace.' And although the record is now considered an independent release, Hubbard said, he is "negotiating with some major labels at this time, too, but they have to go unnamed for now."

Not being one to box himself into a particular music category, Hubbard — with his five-man band — declines to tag his music, but gives others the go-ahead nod to do so.

"It doesn't bother me if people wanna label it as long as I don't have to call it that, because this (album) has a rockabilly (song) on it, the blues, a honky-tonk gospel and I've got a rock 'n' roll song on there that's kinda like "Louie Louie" or "Gloria," he said. "So it doesn't bother me if people put labels on it, but I don't like to, because I love all kinds of music."

As for over-the-top success on a national level, Hubbard admits it'd be keen, but it's not a priority. Not now, anyway.

'The commercial success part would be nice, but I get a gratification from the fact that I feel like I have some real self-esteem as far as what I'm writing about now," he said, thoughtfully.

"Selling a lot of records hasn't been the goal. To me, the goal has been to make the best record I could, that I was capable of doing, and I feel like I've done that this time out."



Southside Ballroom