Ray Wylie Hubbard Talks ‘Outlaws & Legends’, Playing for ‘Letterman’, New Projects + More – Exclusive Interview
Ray Wylie Hubbard is a legendary outlaw country artist, so it's only fitting that the man bring his trademark 'Grit & Groove' style to the 4th annual Outlaws & Legends Music Fest. I was honored to have another opportunity to talk with a man who has been a huge influence on music in the Lone Star State and around the country.
In the first part of our conversation, Ray talked about his upcoming trip to Abilene and the O&L Music Fest. He says he can't remember the last time he was in the Key City. "Not offhand, I don't get up that way much...that's why I'm really looking forward to it. This lineup on this thing is just pretty amazing, to tell you the truth." He goes on to say, "There's such a vibe, you know. You've got Leon Russell, Robert Earl [Keen], Billy Joe [Shaver], Jason [Boland], Gary P. Nunn and all the cats, man. Plus a bunch of the young guys, too, so there should be some sparks flying as far as music goes. Nobody's gonna phone it in with a lineup like that. You've gotta just bring your best game and really throw it out there, man. I am really looking forward to it."
Hubbard is excited to have his son joining him on stage for the show. "I got my boy showing back up to play. My son Lucas is my guitar player, but he left, I guess last October, we did a show at the Crows in New York City. But then he flew to Denver, got him a job up there working at the ski area, so he could snowboard. So this'll be the first gig he's back as a member of the band. So I'm really looking forward to that, man.".
RWH also discussed being invited to play on 'The Late Show With David Letterman'. "He heard the song, 'Mother Blues' somewhere, [one of his producers] called up Keith Case who books up...and said 'Dave would like for you to be on the show, and really wants you to sing 'Mother Blues'...It was a lot of fun. It was cold! It was actually colder inside the studio than it was outside, and this was in January. He keeps that studio just around 48-50 degrees because of all the lights...Letterman was really nice. He's really done a lot. He's had of course Dale Watson on, Elizabeth Cook, Tom Russell...it's really nice that he brings in some cats that aren't just, you know, Jay-Z or Usher [laughs]". He also described what happened when Letterman asked the audience to stay for one more song after the show wrapped, and asked Hubbard to play "Screw You, We're From Texas". Take a listen to part one of my conversation with Ray Wylie Hubbard:
Ray Wylie Hubbard Interview - Part 1
In the second half of my interview with Ray Wylie Hubbard, I asked how much he's getting out to play live these days. He explains, "I'm getting all over. I'm getting ready to do a week in Alaska, then I come back for a couple days in Texas, then I go to Florida for a week, then we're up on the east coast. I don't go out...you know, like one of these Ragweed bands, you know, I don't do like Cody Canada on a tour bus and go out for two months at a time. I go out, I'll fly out to California for 4-5 dates then come back and do Texas, then I'll head up to the Midwest for a week, and then come back. You know, so I'm very very fortunate that I don't have to go out and tour, you know, constantly...But I still enjoy it. It's who I am and what I do, so I go out and travel quite a bit."
Hubbard talked about the new projects he's working on, including a new album. "I'm going in in May and June to do a new record. I'm going back and re-cutting some of my older songs...and then I'm going in to do a whole new album...probably shoot for January [release date]." I pointed out that, in my opinion, the legendary singer-songwriter's music gets better with every album release, to which he responded, "It's one of those things, I guess I try to keep learning new things. I learned open tunings, and I learned bottleneck slide, and I got a mandolin, and so by learning new things, it keeps me on my toes. I can't just, uh, to tell you the truth, I never had any laurels to rest on [laughs]. I haven't had that luxury...I have to keep trying to learn things and keep trying to improve my guitar playing and my songwriting. So I'm trying to get better and better." Take a listen to part two of my conversation with Ray Wylie Hubbard: