Like father, like son: Lucas Hubbard follows in dad’s music-making footsteps

from The Daily Times on

It was a sweet Supro guitar that his daddy practically tossed in his lap to keep from winding up in the doghouse.

That was several years ago, and Lucas Hubbard was sitting on the couch, watching television when his dad — legendary Texas singer-songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard — came through the door with it.

“I saw him walk in and was like, ‘Uh oh,’” Lucas Hubbard told The Daily Times this week. “My parents had a thing — if dad bought a new guitar, mom would get a fridge. If dad got a guitar, mom would get something else. So he showed up with a little Supro guitar, and my mom was like, ‘What’s that?’ And he said, ‘Um ... it’s for Lucas!’”

Young Hubbard, now 17, had been messing around with stringed instruments since he was 8 and first picked up a mandolin. Given his father’s pedigree, it was only natural to assume he’d wind up with musical fire burning through his veins. His dad may not be a household name, but he’s considered a hero by a legion of young Texas songwriters. Ray Wylie Hubbard got his start when he was inspired to play and write by an old Bob Dylan album and found his calling when “(Up Against the Wall) Redneck Mother” became a hit for his old friend and fellow singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker.

His ability with a pen turned heads, but Hubbard could never quite find the hitch on the star that so many of his “progressive country” peers from Texas seemed to ride to national renown. For most of the 1980s, he toiled locally, making a name for himself as a Texas troubadour, a guy with a guitar who played every honky tonk, roadhouse and shrimp shack from the Panhandle to Galveston Bay. The lifestyle eventually took its toll, however, and when he sobered up at the end of the decade, he knew it was time to reevaluate the direction in which his music was headed.

The result was 1991’s “Lost Train of Thought,” the first of several albums over the next 15 years that would establish him as, in the words of one scribe, an “elder statesman” of the Texas music scene. Along with men like Billy Joe Shaver, Guy Clark and the late Townes Van Zandt, he has an eye for detail, an ability to craft a song that seems built on raw emotion, wry observation and troubled introspection.

For Lucas Hubbard, growing up with his father’s songs was something he took for granted — at least until he became part of dad’s band.

“I’ve been listening to them ever since I was born, but I never really sat down and listened to the words and understood them until I was 14 or 15 and we were playing somewhere, and he played a song called ‘The Messenger,’” Lucas said. “It’s a really deep song with a lot of hidden messages, and so I sat down and asked him to explain some of

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