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Articles and Interviews
Ely rambles on
With the cover of "Panhandle Rambler" showing a vintage Airsteam, standing solitary out on the flatlands of the Texas Panhandle, one might think Joe Ely's latest offering would be a sedentary affair. One would be wrong. Instead, the 12 songs are more a Flamenco-accented travelogue of Texas. Streaming from the Panhandle, winding through the Hill Country, deep into Big Bend and across the Rio Grande, "Rambler" mines the stories of the inhabitants, some joyful and some not so much, but all with the skill of a seasoned raconteur with an authenticity almost unheard of on today's country radio.
The Flatlanders deal with "Hills and Valleys"
With only a cursory glance at our economy, it's safe to say America is down in an emotional valley, rather than riding high upon a hill. Unemployment is on the rise, the housing market has tanked, and the stock market is seemingly in a schizophrenic state of confusion. America's history is comprised of both "Hills and Valleys." "I think the hard times...I won't say it makes people more honest, but it makes ‘em search a little bit deeper about some things, and then maybe honesty comes into... more
At 60, Joe Ely moves full speed ahead
Joe Ely shows no signs whatsoever of slowing down and easing into the easy chair as he hits 60. First off, Ely releases a new CD, "Happy Songs From Rattlesnake Gulch" in February on his own Rack 'Em label, yet itself a new venture. Later in February is publication of Ely's poetic musings of life as a musician on the road, "Bonfire of Roadmaps," on the University of Texas Press. March brings an exhibit of the Texan's drawings at the University of Texas.... more
Joe Ely's big songs for little stories
More than five years have passed since Joe Ely's last studio album, the traditionally flavored Tex Mex brew of "Twistin' in the Wind" and three since his vibrant live document, "Live @ Antone's." For most musicians, that broad gap between releases could stand as the devil's workshop where distraction and lack of productivity reign supreme. Not in Joe Ely's world. For Ely, there is no such concept as downtime. In the void left after being dropped by MCA (for the second time in his career)... more
Joe Ely goes on forever and the party still never ends
It's been five years since Joe Ely hopped a fence on his property and wound up with a broken hip and shoulder and a whole lot of time to lay around and think. Among the many topics that roamed around Ely's head during his lengthy recuperation was the thought that he should get back to the real Mexican roots of his south Texas childhood and write songs that reflected and honored that important time in his life. A fortuitous meeting with Dutch flamenco guitarist Teye cemented the new direction,... more
Ely: "Twistin' in the Wind" suits him fine
If you're looking for people who pioneered "alternative country," check out Joe Ely. Long before that phrase existed, Ely created two of the genre's greatest albums. His self-titled 1977 debut and the following year's "Honky Tonk Masquerade" are regarded by some as two of the finest albums of any type ever released. Ely, 50, has now maintained a viable recording career continuously for more than 20 years, including his brand new "Twistin' In The Wind," without anything remotely approaching a hit.... more