FINALLY: Ray Wylie Hubbard to Play ‘Austin City Limits’
It only took 45 years, and many many impassioned pleas by fans and supporters and believers (including here at Saving Country Music), but Ray Wylie Hubbard will finally be appearing on his own segment on the longest-running music show on television, and one that was originally set up to promote and chronicle the contributions of artists just like the Austin and Texas music legend.
Yes, the 73-year-old Hubbard will officially appear on the Austin City Limits stage for a proper taping on Wednesday, October 21st. Though there will be no audience per COVID-19 restrictions—similar to the other performers this season—it won’t much matter. It’s a long-running wrong done right for Ray Wylie. The decision to finally have Hubbard appear was apparently made back in July, but wasn’t confirmed until Hubbard made the announcement on Monday (10-5).
“I actually haven’t heard the hoofbeats of the four horseman of the apocalypse approaching so before they saddle up, I’d like to thank each of you who wrote ‘Austin City Limits’ on my behalf,” Hubbard said in his usually wry, self-deprecating manner. “Just when I was approaching the time to be put out to pasture, this happens and I decide to hitch my self back up to the parade wagon for a promenade under the television lights of a show I have watched for around 45 years but never appeared on it. So thanks to the powers that be at ACL for asking me to do my gnarly old songs.”
Hubbard has actually appeared on the show briefly before, when he took the stage with fellow Austin songwriter Hayes Carll to perform the song they wrote together, “Drunken Poet’s Dream.” But this was the extent of it. Inspired by Jan Reid’s book The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock (Jan Reed just passed away), the original mission of Austin City Limits was to chronicle, support, and promote music from Austin, TX through the local non-profit PBS channel, KLRU. It soon became one of PBS’s signature shows, and is the namesake of the massive Austin City Limits music festival every fall.
However Ray Wylie Hubbard had been curiously overlooked over the years, never appearing while artists well outside the Austin music sphere who already enjoyed wide popularity were brought in. Over the years, the ACL stage has become one of the most prestigious in all of music, with artists regularly eschewing television appearances such as Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead making exceptions for the show. It’s also given credit for launching many careers, including from guys like Stevie Ray Vaughan. However over that time period, the original mission of supporting local roots music first has sometimes been lost.
The appearance comes at a time with Ray Wylie Hubbard is enjoying a resurgence in his career. He recently signed to Big Machine Records, and released a new album called Co-Starring, which sees appearances by Ringo Star, Joe Walsh, Pam Tillis, Ashley McBryde, Ronnie Dunn, and many more. Eric Church (who has played ACL before), has also been a big proponent of Hubbard over the last few years, name dropping him in a song, and co-writing his hit “Desperate Man” with Ray. Hubbard also finally made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry stage in July of 2019.
Appearing with Hubbard on Austin City Limits will be his son Lucas (likely on the Gold Top Les Paul guitar), touring drummer Kyle Schneider, fellow Austin legend and producer Gurf Morlix on bass, and Bukka Allen on keyboards.
Ray Wylie Hubbard was once dubbed “The Forgotten Outlaw” for the way the music scene seemed to summarily pass him by. Even as he was writing seminal songs such as “Redneck Mother”—which Willie Nelson played on the first-ever pilot episode of Austin City Limits, and Jerry Jeff Walker had a hit with—the Oklahoma born, Dallas-raised, and Austin-reared musician never made it to the next level. Now Hubbard, who will be 74 next month, is finally receiving his due.
Better late than never.
October 6, 2020 @ 8:19 am
Well deserved, and his new album is fantastic.
October 6, 2020 @ 8:40 am
Yee-Haw!!! Bout time!
October 6, 2020 @ 8:59 am
Just sounds nasty……..
October 6, 2020 @ 9:05 am
Snake farm?…….pretty much is……
October 6, 2020 @ 10:05 am
Its a reptile house….oooo…
October 6, 2020 @ 10:09 am
Finally a bright spot in this horrible year.
October 6, 2020 @ 10:13 am
This might be the best news all year
October 6, 2020 @ 10:22 am
I hate being one of those people, but you haven’t had your say about Co-Starring. Usually, I like to have a few different albums than only what you review on my year end list, but not one that more than likely will top that list this year.
October 6, 2020 @ 11:09 am
“Co-Starring” and “The United State” by Justin Wells are still on my radar and are still being considered for review. Folks just have to understand that I can’t review everything, and sometimes you run up against projects you’re just writers blocked on, and don’t know what to say. Reviews consist of words, and if they don’t come, you’re stuck. It’s no disrespect to these projects.
October 7, 2020 @ 6:30 am
Pretty much doing what you criticized Austin City Limits for doing for the past 45 years.
October 7, 2020 @ 6:53 am
Yeah, not really at all.
The very reason Austin City Limits was commissioned was to chronicle and promote Austin-based artists. To ignore Ray Wylie Hubbard for 45 years is a gross dereliction of duty. Though they’re making it right, so I don’t want to complain too loudly now.
My job is to review as many records as I can, which this year will be upwards of 100-120. I can’t review them all. I don’t cover a specific scene. But reviewing records isn’t the only way I feature music. Both records in question have been covered here. So I haven’t ignored them, like ACL and Ray Wylie did.
October 6, 2020 @ 3:16 pm
I hope he sticks to it he folded here in lufkin tx twice we were looking forward
October 6, 2020 @ 3:53 pm
Great news! Happy for you Ray.
October 6, 2020 @ 6:40 pm
Pride of Wimberley Texas!
October 7, 2020 @ 5:26 am
Finally and well deserved! Ray Wylie has always been the guy works tirelessly to be in the shadows of the spotlight and content to be there. He’s never expected nor I think would be comfortable as a “Star” in the Outlaw music world and that’s very much ok. I’m sure he’ll make some jokes and miss a beat or two but very quietly in his mind will be both greatful and humbled by the experience. Happy Birthday Ray!
January 23, 2021 @ 7:07 pm
Great show on PBS Jan .23,2021. First time I’ve heard of the band, but the music spoke to my younger years having been born in 1946–same as Mr. Hubbard. Keep up the good memories.
February 13, 2021 @ 9:06 am
Never heard of Ray Wylie Hubbard. I saw him on Austin City Limits. I am a fan now and forever. I love d the whole set, every song was pure perfection.