Eric Church promised big news for today (7/12), and he delivered by announcing the release of his latest record, as well as a new single to arrive on Friday (7/13), both of which will be called “Desperate Man.” Most had anticipated the announcement of a new album and a new single. But what none of us foresaw was the tie-in with Texas music legend, Forgotten Outlaw, and proprietor of the dead thumb blues, Ray Wylie Hubbard being so prominent in the mix.
Eric Church’s new “Desperate Man” single was co-written with Hubbard, who also received a name drop from Church in the title track of Church’s last album, Mr. Misunderstood. At the time it just seemed like a passing thing. The two performers did not know each other. But since then a budding friendship has emerged. In February of 2017, Hubbard was invited on stage with Church at the American Airlines Center to perform. Then in February 2018, Church showed up to tribute Hubbard at his Texas Heritage Songwriters Association induction.
This isn’t just a name drop or an appearance though. Hubbard’s name on the lead single of a major label artist will mean mailbox money in spades. The 71-year-old has always been one of those artists short on fame, but huge in praise and influence among his musical peers. It was the line “This song is by Ray Wylie Hubbard” in the live version of “Redneck Mother” on Jerry Jeff Walker’s iconic 1973 album Viva Terlingua that put Hubbard on the map. Since then Ray has become a guru and legend of Texas and Red Dirt music.
Eric Church’s Desperate Man will arrive on October 5th, and just like his last surprise album, Mr. Misunderstood, members of his fan club will receive a copy free, with the top tier of the fan club getting an exclusive white vinyl edition of the record. Members of Eric Church’s fan club are getting an exclusive listen of the song for today, while the rest of the public will have to wait until Friday (7/13).
Maybe now Austin City Limits will finally consider Ray Wylie Hubbard for the episode he’s deserved for over 30 years.
Cover art for the new Eric Church: