Ray Wylie Hubbard’s autobiography is equal parts free form poetry, songbook, and Texas tall tale deep-fried in plenty of truth and self-deprecating humor. Somehow, I missed it when it came out back in 2015– but Ray’s social media alerted me to its existence and where I could purchase my very own copy (raywylie.com).
Ray crisscrosses his career and personal life by alternating between stream of conscious anecdotes and linear chapters that follow his boyhood in Oklahoma and the Lonestar State before revving up into his folkie turned outlaw country adventures throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s. Ray is candid about his alcoholism, offering an insight honed by that abuse, his recovery, and continued sobriety. But if stories of troubadours, highways, and after-hours debauchery are what you seek, well, have no fear.
Ray’s stories are pure gold– including his first forays as a traveling folkie, the origins of “Redneck Mother”, being kidnapped by Willie Nelson’s crew, and a whole heap more. Ray shares his “secret” chords, treats aspiring songwriters to his methodology while making suggestions towards “required” reading & listening, he’s gracious to his friends & collaborators, and always mindful of his mistakes.
Ol’ F. Scott once observed, “There are no second acts in American lives.” Too bad Fitzgerald couldn’t stick around for Ray Wylie Hubbard. Buy this book.