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Folk musician Ray Wylie Hubbard at Poe's Pub

From "Redneck" to Redemption

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Anyone who remembers the "outlaw" country music period in the mid-'70s led by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Jerry Jeff Walker, has probably heard the movement's anthem "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother" at least one too many times. That's probably true for Ray Wylie Hubbard, the song's writer, as well. Even though he made a name on the song, his current music leaves his best-known song deeply buried in the novelty-tune shadows. Hubbard brings his recent batch of finely crafted folk tunes to Poe's Pub on Wednesday, April 25.

Hubbard never set out to become famous for a cowboy, beer-drinking tune. Born in Oklahoma and turned on by Bob Dylan songs as a high-school kid in Texas, Hubbard began playing folk music around his adopted state. He soon opened a New Mexico coffee shop where he booked the new breed of country outlaws. Moving to Austin in the early '70s, Hubbard fell into a thriving scene. Walker recorded Ray's "Redneck" tune in the mid-'70s, and Hubbard was suddenly a celebrity with a record deal. His first recording was a Nashville disaster, and Hubbard moved on to the honky-tonk circuit. He freely admits that much of the '80s were a blur of one-night stands drenched in booze and drugs.

Hubbard eventually cleaned up and, re-energized by the writings of the Austrian poet Rainer Rilke (1875-1926), he returned to serious songwriting. Throughout the '90s, Hubbard released a number of projects that found him wrestling with spiritual truths. His 1999 CD "Crusades of the Restless Knights" is an outstanding group of honest tunes where angels and devils cross paths, and righteousness is lost to temptation as often as it prevails. Serious in intent and good-natured in spirit without a trace of a heavy hand, Hubbard's songs are among the best of today's

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