Our first L.A. show after our West Coast and Montana tourettes was a memorable one. We opened for Texas songman Ray Wylie Hubbard at McCabes on Friday July 22. Ray is touring the West Coast with his lovely wife Judy and prodigy guitarist young son Lucas, and they are nice as can be. The Hawks had a powerfully received acoustic set, with a stomping encore request, and then Ray took the stage and took over the room. The guy has a huge voice, plays expert blues bottleneck on his National Steel, and has stunning songs, from poignant to actually funny (check out “Snake Farm,” a monster hit if radio was suddenly released from the grip of darkness and became hip and infused with taste). And effortless story telling that starts in the middle of a song and continues into the next. The audience would have jumped off the Santa Monica pier if Ray had so requested. Ray pummeled an obligatory rendition of his hit “Redneck Mother” into submission, warned the Hawks of the dangers of writing a novelty song that takes off. Then he brought son Lucas up, who casually sat down and played guitar like an old blues guy, which is no accident, as Ray and Judy, in a monstrous Texas Outlaw clinical behavior modification experiment, only let baby Lucas listen to black music until he achieved the age of guitar. The result is a young kid who phrases behind the beat and builds licks and solos like he’s 40 years old. The audience freaked even more. For his encore Ray invited the Hawks up for the Mississippi Fred McDowell song “You Got To Move.” Such a night. If you missed Ray W, you’d better not next time.
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