From the moment he made his debut in the 1970s, Joe Ely has blended rock-and-roll sensibilities with hardcore honky-tonk to become one of the most recognizable and respected artists to hail from the Lone Star state.
Growing up on the vast and empty plains of West Texas, his legend was forged onstage with riveting live performances hammered out over thousands of shows and countless touring miles from Lubbock to London and back again.
He is embraced as a kindred spirit by artists as diverse as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and The Clash. Over his four-decade career, he’s been at the forefront of Outlaw Country, Alt-Country, Texas Country and Americana, and has been recognized as one of the best songwriters of his generation.
Ely, a multiple Grammy nominee and recipient, was recognized by the Texas Legislature as the Official 2016 Texas State Musician, a coveted honor given to only a few. Past recipients include Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Dale Watson & Billy Joe Shaver.
Additionally, the Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame inducted Ely into its organization, where his work resides alongside such legends as Roy Orbison and J.D. Souther. Last year, he was given the honor of being the first musician ever invited to membership to the prestigious Texas Institute of Letters, a literary organization that counts as active members such noted authors as Larry McMurtry and Cormac McCarthy.
“There’s no mistaking a Joe Ely album,” wrote noted Dallas Morning News critic Mario Tarradell. “His stinging, road-hued voice commands lyrics about life, love and the wandering spirit. When you listen to (his albums), you’re enjoying the essence of Joe Ely. That’s the essence of Texas Music.”
Panhandle Rambler is one of the most personal albums Ely has ever made. It brings forth this terrain, the spirited people it produces and that special sense of destiny that its very vastness creates. “Wounded Creek” starts the album with what you might call a Western fantasy, except that the “bushes and the brambles,” the traffic light, the stray dog and the cold wind are all completely brought to life.
Friday, Mar. 8
Sam’s Burger Joint
330 E. Grayson Street
18 and Over
Doors: 7:00 p.m./Show 8:00 p.m.