Ray Wylie Hubbard enjoying surge in Americana popularity

Ray Wylie Hubbard


IF YOU GO

What: Sunday Roadhouse presents Ray Wylie Hubbard

When: 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St.

Tickets: $20 in advance or $25 day of show at SundayRoadhouse.com

Americana has opened wide as a music genre.

Years ago, there were just a few well-known Americana artists, but its current popularity is reflected in the success of many artists.

That's been nothing but good news for Ray Wylie Hubbard, who performs in Omaha this weekend for the 10th anniversary of the Sunday Roadhouse concert series.

Hubbard, known for songs such as “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother,” has performed Texas country and folk since the 1970s, but his latest album, “The Grifter's Hymnal,” has brought him even more attention.

“Since 'Grifter's' come out, for some reason, I've had (a lot of) opportunities,” Hubbard told The World-Herald.

Joe Walsh, Ringo Starr, Ronnie Dunn and others wrote songs with Hubbard, and he made his first appearances on late-night TV.

“Isn't 66 a little late to make your first appearance on Letterman?” Hubbard said with a laugh. “But I'm not a nostalgia act. I still play 'Redneck Mother,' but putting out 'Grifter' and these new records means I'm still valid, I guess. I'm not going through the motions. I'm very, very happy and feel fortunate right now.”

Hubbard says he's not mainstream country and, even if he was, he's too old to be on CMT anyway. But all the attention he has received since “The Grifter's Hymnal” has been released has been enjoyable.

Part of that success comes from the success of Americana in general.

“Eighteen years ago, Americana was Lucinda Williams, Steve Bush and The Jayhawks. Nobody really knew what they were doing or what to call that. It's really blown up now,” he said. “And that type of music has a little more depth to it than the top 40 country thing. It's been a good thing for me to fall into.”

It's allowed Hubbard to tour a lot, which can be exhausting. Hubbard is happy that his son has joined his band on lead guitar.

All the touring means Hubbard gets to go to places he hasn't been in awhile, and that includes Omaha.

“I used to play there when all I cared about was beer and electricity,” he said. “We'd say, 'Give us some beer and a place to plug in and we'll be cool.' ”

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