Ray Wylie Hubbard likes to live by words he eventually set to music in the song "Mother Blues" from his 2012 album The Grifters' Hymnal: "The days I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, well, I have really good days." The 67-year-old iconoclastic singer-songwriter is a holdover from Texas' progressive-country scare of the '70s, and pocketed plenty of mailbox money from writing Jerry Jeff Walker's Viva Terlingua! hit "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother."
But starting with his mid-'90s albums Lost Train of Thought and Loco Gringo's Lament, Hubbard began releasing music at a steady clip that has yielded ten more albums and improbably endeared Hubbard to both the good-timin' Texas Country scene (where he's something of a kindly uncle figure) and Americana aesthetes who can't stand that crowd. CHRIS GRAY