Archive for the Ray Wylie Hubbard Category

2010 Americana Music Award Nominees: Song of the Year, and the Rest

Posted in Americana Music Awards 2010, Dave Rawlings Machine, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Ryan Bingham, The Avett Brothers on September 9, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

If you’ve been reading lately, then you know that the Americana Music Honors and Awards Show is taking place tonight at the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville, TN. I’ve covered the nominees in a few of the major awards so far. This post is just to wrap up every other category and give you an overview of the rest of the awards.

The award show will be broadcast live on Sirius/XM Radio’s Outlaw Country Channel and webcast live by NPR Music and Folk Alley beginning at 6:30 Central Time.

We’ll start with Song of the Year.

The nominated songs are “Drunken Poet’s Dream” by Ray Wylie Hubbard, “Ruby” by The Dave Rawlings Machine, “I and Love and You” by The Avett Brothers, and “The Weary Kind” by Ryan Bingham. I’m not going to go into detail about each nominee here since I’ve mentioned each artist in other posts already, but I do have a few general comments to go along with my prediction.

First of all, this is Bingham’s category to lose… just like every other award he’s nominated for. No song in recent memory has made as much noise outside of the Americana realm as “The Weary Kind.” That’s why he’ll win Artist and New/Emerging Artist as well… Golden Globes and Oscars bring a different level of recognition that this genre has been searching for some time now.

“Ruby” is a pleasant enough song, but not my favorite from that album by a far shot. “I and Love and You” does a good job of showcasing the Avett’s expanded melancholy, but I still prefer the rowdy version of that band. The song that intrigues me the most in this set is “Drunken Poet’s Dream” by Ray Wylie Hubbard.

This is the same song that appeared on Hayes Carll’s 2008 CD Trouble in Mind… except that it isn’t. Carll and Hubbard both have co-write credits for the song on each album, but Hubbard’s version is drastically different from Carll’s original. Aside from changing the song from a somewhat sunny piece into a fuzzy electric dirge, Hubbard added verses, left out others, re-arranged a few others, and omitted the bridge. He even changed the lyrics to the chorus. In the end, almost the only thing the two songs share is a title. Still, I’m not sure which one I like better… both hold up well.

Ray Wylie Hubbard: Drunken Poet’s Dream (Buy Album)
Dave Rawlings Machine: Ruby (Buy Album)
Avett Brothers: I and Love and You (Buy Album)
Ryan Bingham: Weary Kind (Buy Album)

My Prediction: Ryan Bingham
My Vote (If I had one): Ryan Bingham
The other two major categories are Artist of the Year and Instrumentalist of the Year.

Once again… we’ve already covered most of the nominees for Artist of the Year. Ryan Bingham, Patty Griffin, and Ray Wylie Hubbard are nominees in other categories. Only Steve Earle and Levon Helm are singularly nominated. For his part, Helm was the winner of the first ever Grammy for Best Americana Album. Earle, meanwhile, won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Both artists also continue to tour and serve as ambassadors for the genre. Still… they can’t trump Bingham.
My Prediction: Bingham
My Vote (If I had one): Bingham
The Instrumentalist of the Year category is loaded with perennial nominees like Buddy Miller, Will Kimbrough, and Sam Bush along with this year’s most nominated artist Dave Rawlings. It’s hard to imagine a year without Buddy Miller winning an award, but he’s done more producing than playing lately. This may be the year he’s shut out.
I don’t really have a prediction or vote here. This is the one category that stumps me every year.

2010 Americana Music Award Nominees: Album of the Year

Posted in Americana Music Awards 2010, Dave Rawlings Machine, Patty Griffin, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Rosanne Cash on September 6, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

For me, this is the biggest award of the night. Call me old fashioned, but I still believe that the album is the highest form of artistic expression for an artist. Even as it seems many artists and record labels are focusing more and more on singles these days, I’ll always take a great album over a great single. I also find it very telling about the Americana Music Association as a whole that their radio airplay charts are based on album spins rather than airplay for specific singles. How many other charts do that?

You probably know the story of Rosanne Cash’s The List by now. When Rosanne was younger, her father (Johnny Cash) gave her a list of 100 songs that he considered to be the best that country music had to offer. Rosanne studied that list for over thirty years… becoming intimately familiar with each song. This album is comprised of twelve of those songs, lovingly selected and performed by Rosanne to honor the memory of her father and an entire generation of country music legends. Friends such as Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Tweedy, Elvis Costello, and Rufus Wainright help her give The List life.

Rosanne Cash: Sea of Heartbreak (Buy Album)

This is the second of four nominations for Dave Rawlings and his Machine. He’s also tabbed in the Artist, Song, and Duo/Group categories. As I mentioned in the Duo/Group post, A Friend of a Friend showcases Dave Rawlings the songwriter, the vocalist, and the musician as he finally gets the chance to step out in front of the show instead of merely playing in the background. Rawlings wrote or co-wrote seven of the nine songs on the album and brings them to life brilliantly alongside his friends Gillian Welch, Benmont Tench, and several members of the Old Crow Medicine Show.

Dave Rawlings Machine: I Hear Them All (Buy Album)

Like Rosanne’s album, Patty Griffin’s Downtown Church plays as a bit of a concept record. Griffin and producer Buddy Miller (the most decorated artist in AMA history) recorded this gospel record entirely in Nashville’s 160-year-old Downtown Presbyterian Church in January of 2009. The mix of traditional gospel songs and hymns, contemporary numbers by the likes of Hank Williams Sr. and Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, and Griffin originals play as one long spiritual journey through song. It’s a mix that sounds just as good in the middle of the week as it does on a Sunday morning.

Patty Griffin: House of Gold (Buy Album)

The final nominee is Ray Wylie Hubbard’s A. Enlightenment, B. Endarkenment, (Hint: There is No C.). If the title seems confusing, the record itself is not. It is simply Ray Wylie Hubbard being Ray Wylie Hubbard with a mix of gravel smooth vocals over over gritty and dirty country/blues riffs that could only come from Texas. Hubbard has made a fine career out of this sound, and this album is simply a continuation of that. He sings wasps, women, tornados, music, and religion and tackles each with the same grit and fire. Pop in this CD and prepare to be Enlightened.

Ray Wylie Hubbard: Loose (Buy Album)
This is another tough category to pick. I have a hard time thinking of cover albums as Album of the Year material, yet that is essentially what we have with Rosanne Cash and Patty Griffin. The problem is that Griffn’s album is also my favorite of these four. I guess I just can’t shake that Southern Baptist upbringing of mine. As for who I think will win… I’m actually kind of stumped. I’ll go with Rawlings based on the strength of his four total nominations.
My prediction: Dave Rawlings Machine
My vote (If I had one): Patty Griffin

Ray Wylie Hubbard: Conversation with the Devil

Posted in Ray Wylie Hubbard on July 9, 2008 by AmericanaPulse

In the bloglist to the right, you’ll find a link to something called The Star Maker Machine. It’s a sort of community blog with many different contributors. Each week, the moderator determines a theme, and readers submit blog posts about songs that fit the theme (Past themes included days of the week, 1984, and city songs). The result is a ton of posts on each weekly topic from varying artists and genres. It’s a great place to go to find old favorites and artists you may have missed in the past.

This week’s theme is Hell Week. I was finally inspired to learn how to create a post and offer up my first submission to The Machine. I chose R.E.M.’s “Burning Hell” from Dead Letter Office. That post should be up soon.

#Edit# It’s up now… you can find it here. Looks like Payton from This Mornin’ I am Born Again had me covered on the Ray Wylie #End Edit#

After thinking some more on the theme, however, I realized I had forgotten a song by Ray Wylie Hubbard that fit the theme perfectly.

“Conversation with the Devil” is included on Hubbard’s 1999 album Crusades of the Restless Knights. “Conversation” is a song in the talking blues style that tells of a dream Hubbard had where he was cast into Hell and asked the Devil to explain what he had done to deserve his punishment. Through the course of the song, the conversation turns to drug abuse, hypocrisy, reincarnation, and a certain fiddle duel famously described by Charlie Daniels. We learn that all abusive parents, rapists, politicians, and Nashville record executives go to Hell, while saints and mystics are awarded passage to Heaven.

In the end, Hubbard wakes from his dream, kisses his son, and decides to change his ways. Whether or not Hubbard actually had this dream, I do not know. I do know that Hubbard lived a good deal of his life in what he called “a honky-tonk fog” fueled by drugs and alcohol before going clean and sober in the late 80’s. It seems the Devil scared Ray Wylie Hubbard straight.

Ray Wylie Hubbard: Conversation with the Devil (Buy Album)