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 : 0              Total Reviews: 29

Joe Ely  01/31/2007            
a dispointed Joe E. fan
I expected much more from Joe Ely. The lyrics and music are simplistic to the point of pain. Sounds like an album of filler
Joe Ely  01/20/2007            
texas music fan
This album is wonderful!
Joe Ely  10/12/2006            
Too bad about the small crowd at Marfa, but Texas music has turned to crap, and the true singers and writers can't get heard over all the crap out there. Joe is one of the truely great ones
Joe Ely  07/22/2006            
Tom Ezell
I last saw Joe Ely on July 8, 2006 at the opening of the Luz de Estrella winery in Marfa, TX. It was an outdoor venue with Joe, his acoustic guitar and harmonica. He tore it up for a crowd of maybe 100 people. After the winery show we all went to a little beer joint in town and Joe, along with Guy Clark, David Byrne, Ryan Bingham, Robert Earl Keen and other talented musicians continued to tear it up til closing time. The party ended up at The Thunderbird Hotel with guitars being passed around until about 5 o'clock in the morning. It was a blast.
Joe Ely  03/22/2006            
Both "twisting in the wind" and "letter to laredo" are really good (except for that chihuaha song!!). Joe when are you going to wrte a book?
Joe Ely  03/09/2006            
Janet Souza
Joe Ely  03/05/2006            
Rachel. I haven't kissed another since I first took you to Spokane. Now I'm pretending I've moved on because you asked me to. But I know I'll never understand or lose this ache. I miss my beautiful enigmatic wife. I'm just Twistin' in the Wind.
Joe Ely  12/30/2004            
honky tonk masguierd
honky tonk masaguierd
Joe Ely  05/31/2004            
I have always liked Joe's music.
Joe Ely  09/26/2003            
brent hamilton
festival on the square.september 11 2003. joe ely and jack ingram take no prisoners. having grown up on the flat plains of lubbock, i have seen joe many, many times. he puts on a show no matter how many or few are fortunate enough to witness or testify about. i've seen him play at the original stubb's in lubbock for twenty lucky souls and larger venues with thousands. always awesome,never half-a**. truly a texas icon.
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