Joe Ely

Joe Ely
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Everybody else romances the road. Joe Ely lives it. Call him what you want - a wandering minstrel, gypsy cowboy, visionary song poet, or houserocker on fire - whatever he is, Ely's covered a lot of ground in his time. He really has ridden the rails (in a circus train, no less), thumbed his way across the country, hopped boats to exotic foreign lands, and ridden horses across the prairie. All part of the relentless quest for revelation that only a journey can satisfy. Those sort of restless yearnings come naturally to a boy from Lubbock, Texas, where the flat dusty landscape, endless sky and vast horizons have inspired several generations of young creative types to fill up all that empty space with music, as Buddy Holly did, as did Waylon Jennings, and Roy Orbison all the way to the current Lubbock Mob consisting of Ely and his compadres Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock, and Terry Allen. Like them, Joe Ely has proved to himself before he proved to a growing number of faithful that when it comes to the mystical process of writing, singing, and performing music, there's no pretending or holding back. Where he comes from, you put your emotions on the line each and every night. That upbringing led Joe Ely to roam the earth and preach the gospel of the Roadhouse, extolling the virtues of the nowhere-else-but-Texas pressure cooker environment where hard core country and the rawest kind of rock and roll collide on the dance floor every Saturday night. The first milestone was a band called the Flatlanders, formed in Lubbock more than twenty years ago by Ely, Hancock and Gilmore. Their visionary melding of country, rock, and fold immediately pegged them as three singer- songwriters who were ahead of their time and way too experimental for Nashville. Next came the Joe Ely Band, Joe's own ensemble who once again mixed country and rock elements into something new and completely different, proving to anyone that heard them that an accordion or pedal steel guitar really could pack the same sonic punch as an electric guitar. In England, the Panhandle poets and his pickers were embraced by the Clash, the standard bearers of the nascent punk movement, who might not have shared the same cultural values as the West Texans, but who certainly knew integrity when they heard it. Since then, Ely has gained the respect of his friends and his peers, including such kindred spirits as Bruce Springsteen, who contributes vocals on his latest album, along with old friend Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and new friend Raul Malo of the Mavericks. Whatever qualities grabbed their attention, Joe Ely remains a Texas original. In Austin, where he now lives and works, a body of work that spans thirteen albums and his willingness to put it all on the line each and every night has rightfully accorded him status akin to royalty. But no matter how virtuous those qualities and associations seem in retrospect, and no matter how illustrious his performing and recording career may be, all the accomplishments and accolades suddenly seem like mere preludes that have been building up to Letter to Laredo. On this collection of songs, Joe Ely simply sets out to demonstrate what all the fuss is about. He sings of distance, about rivers and ranches, of smoldering passions and sad laments, of faraway longing and unrequited love. He sings of journeys that take him from the High Plains of West Texas to dark and mysterious flamenco bars in Spanish Andalusia, where Arab, African, and European influences commingle. And more than once he can be seen and heard chasing hearts and souls south across the Rio Grande. The voice is that of a man who speaks fluently the patois of honky tonks and juke joints, who can hold an audience around a campfire riveted until the break of dawn, or inspire a crowd of thousands to kick up their bootheels in a two-step or a stomp. It's a voice that can converse with a pistolero as directly as it conveys intimacy to a lover, or articulates that high lonesome feeling known to everyone who has ever hurt. So pull up a chair, cut a rug, or hit the highway. Listener's choice. The songs that Joe Ely sings are the stuff that makes anyone's journey something worth remembering.
Date Venue City State Note
No Tour Dates Available
11/23/2010 - Hopes up high  - Read More
06/04/2010 - Genre-jumping Texas icon Joe Ely keeps the music fresh - Read More
09/29/2009 - On the rails with Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and Dave Alvin - Read More
06/24/2009 - Poodie's Picnic at the Backyard this weekend - Read More
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No Blogs Available
02/01/2007 - Joe Ely Q&A - Read More
05/01/2003 - Joe Ely Q&A '03 - Read More
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Average Rating : 4.5              Total Reviews: 29

Joe Ely  11/12/2009            
eddie-Austin Music
I first met Joe Ely at the Rodeo Bar & Grill in New York city and later at the Saxon Pub both where he wasn't playing,found out we were both from West Texas and been friends ever since.I watched him perform at Antone's in Austin and was impressed with the songs and his music.Above all else a nice guy.
Joe Ely  02/21/2009            
Great show last night at Gruene! We thoroughly enjoyed it.
Joe Ely  02/21/2009            
Great show last night at Gruene! We thoroughly enjoyed it.
Joe Ely  05/23/2007            
I think "Silver City" is a great album from the perspective of illustrating the type and quality of songs Joe Ely wrote and sang as a very young man traveling around. We now know that he has maintained that high quality throuout his career. What a talented individual!!
Joe Ely  02/06/2007            
Kallikak Jack
What is everyone whining about? Sounds like classic Joe Ely to me. Reminds me of Love and Danger in many ways. I suppose if you want him to continue releasing variations on Letter To Laredo it would be a dissapointment... But that ain't how the man works. Sure, I love the atmosphere of Laredo (and Teye's touch). It's a classic. But I'm always more than ready to see where Joe wants to take me next. Kimiko said: "You'll find something different and wonderful and breathtaking over and over again, as long as you keep looking". He's looking.
Joe Ely  02/05/2007            
I think you people need to settle down and wait to get the full CD before you review it. There's more to this record than you can gleam off the sound clips.
Joe Ely  02/04/2007            
All in all another great release from one of my all time favoite storytellers! The music feels stripped down but still hits you where it counts! It's got touches of rock 'n' roll flavored with spoonfuls of Texas soul....Rock on Joe!
Joe Ely  02/02/2007            
Great stuff!
Joe Ely  02/01/2007            
I'm a super Joe Ely fan but this new album is very disapointing to me. I've been waiting a while for his new album; even a remake of some of his great songs on one album would be great.
Joe Ely  01/31/2007            
I'm a huge Joe Ely fan but this is dry, boring and not like his other work. There is no soul and the music is flat. Nothing like Letter to Laredo or Streets of Sin. An album of filler. It's too bad because I was really looking forward to this album.
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