RiverRoots Music Series

Texas musician Hubbard to perform
in Madison in April

He will return to Madison in June to play at RiverRoots

RiverRoots Music Series

• Ray Wylie Hubbard, with Frankie Leonie
• 8 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at the Red Bicycle Hall, 125 E. Main St., in Madison, Ind.
• Admission: $18
• Information: www.RiverRoots.org

(April 2018) – A popular Texas musician will be making two appearances in Madison, Ind., soon. Ray Wylie Hubbard, a member of the group of musicians anchored by Willie Nelson and known as Texas Outlaws will play the RiverRoots Music Series on April 14 at the Red Bicycle Hall, 125 E. Main St. He will return in early June to perform at the RiverRoots Music and Folk Art Festival, planned this year for June 8-9.
“We are continuing the fourth season of the RiverRoots Music Series with Ray Wylie Hubbard,” said Red Bicycle music scheduler Tony Novello. “We were very lucky to have Hubbard as part of the music series because he doesn’t tour and isn’t playing anywhere close by.”
The RiverRoots Music Series at the Red Bicycle Hall often books musical acts as a tryout before being selected as a festival performer. It also brings popular artists back to town after a successful festival performance.

Photo courtesy of
Mary Keating Bruton

Oklahoma-born musician and songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard is a member of Willie Nelson’s “Texas Outlaws.”

“I booked this some time before he was booked for the festival, “said Novello. I Have tried to book him every year for five years, but no luck. We were lucky he has a record and a book he wants to promote, so he is getting out of Texas more.”
Novello has good reason to be happy.
“He is a Texas country music legend,” said Novello. “The show was sold out in less than a week, months before the performance. But he can also be seen in June at the festival.”
Hubbard was born in Soper, Okla. His family moved near Dallas in 1954. He attended W.H. Adamson High School with Michael Martin Murphey. He graduated in 1965 and enrolled in college at the University of North Texas as an English major. He spent the summers in Red River, N.M., playing folk music.
During his time in New Mexico, Hubbard wrote “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother,” made famous by Jerry Jeff Walker’s 1973 recording.
Bolstered by the success of the song, he was signed by Warner Bros. Records, and he then put together a band of friends and locals and in 1976 released “Ray Wylie Hubbard and the Cowboy Twinkies.”
Without Hubbard’s knowledge, producers took the sparse yet heartfelt recordings and decided to “Nashville-ize” the sound by adding larger overdub mixes than necessary and female backup singers to what should have been a more intimate sound then first envisioned. The result was “a botched sound” that Hubbard disapproved of vehemently. But despite his attempts to block it, it was still released. Sales were poor. In protest of his lack of input regarding the finished product, Hubbard refused to go out and tour in support of the album.

Photo provided

Musician and singer Frankie Leonie is a rising star who is traveling from Texas to perform in Madison, Ind.

Soon after, the label dropped him from their roster, and Hubbard distanced himself from the album, saying, “It sucked then, and it still sucks. If you have any shred of compassion at all in your heart for me or any musician who got screwed by some jerk in authority at a record label, then don’t buy this mistake.”
This caused Hubbard to be seen as a member of the Texas Outlaws, led by Willie Nelson. He then recorded albums for other various labels for the next 10 years. But his mix of country, folk and blues elements did not find an audience, and he left the music business until the early 1990s, when he released his album “Lost Train of Thought.” It was followed by “Loco Gringo’s Lament” in 1994, and eventually a solid following began to re-discover Hubbard’s music, and he has been recording steadily since. He has created more than a dozen albums since then.
He continues to tour and record, while using digital media outlets for his releases. He plays host to a Tuesday night radio show called “Roots & Branches,” where he plays Texas rock, country and Outlaw music from his home in Wimberley, Texas.
“He has recorded his songs, but also other people have also recorded them,” said Novello. “I just started reading his autobiography, about how he writes his songs. He hangs around with people like Willie Nelson.”
Opening for him at the Red Bicycle Hall will be Frankie Leonie.
“She and Hubbard will both play at Willie’s festival in Texas,” Novello added. “She is a burgeoning star with a beautiful voice. She is traveling from Texas just to play this show.”
“In some cases, the music series is a proving ground for artists to be at the festival,” Novello added. “At other times we have a lesser known artist at the festival who really stands out, so we want to bring them back for the music series. We make an effort to do that, so we can drive interest to the festival.
Novello is clearly a fan of Hubbard’s music, as is another member of the RiverRoots family, Jane Vonderheide, a member of the RiverRoots music selection committee.
“Ray Wylie Hubbard’s songs tell a story,” says Vonderheide. “He is a great choice for the music series because it will be an intimate way to experience the stories he tells with his music.”
She said she is also looking forward to seeing him at the festival.
“I think seeing him at the festival will be another great but different experience. I think it will be more electric and lively.”
Novello and the Red Bicycle Hall received money from a grant by the Indiana Arts Commission that will expand the musical experience for the visit by Hubbard.
“He will do a free workshop earlier in the day,” said Novello. “It will certainly be full, so information about availability and other information can be found on the festival website, www.RiverRoots.org.”
The last scheduled RiverRoots Music Series performance this year is set for May 12 and featuring Michael Kelsey. That concert will be held at the Thomas Family Winery, 208 E. Second St. in Madison.

“We are considering an out of town show if we can work out the details,” Novello added.

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