Joe Ely

 

 

 

A native of Amarillo, Texas, Joe Ely got his start in the early '70s, working with Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore in a group called the Flatlanders.  When he is not out doing his solo shows, or on the road with his saddle pals Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt and Guy Clark doing gigs at honky tonks like Carnegie Music Hall early in 2006, where they packed the Hall...Carnegie that is.  Press describes Ely as "energetic and passionate live performer." 

 

When Joe released his STREETS OF SIN release the Rounder Records bio read:

With a career spanning 18 albums, thousands of live performances, and hundreds of thousands of miles on the road over four decades, Joe Ely needs no introduction. Roll out the Lord of the Highway, King of the Honky-Tonk, torch-bearer of nitro-fueled, tornado-twisted West Texas rock and roll. Cite Lubbock and Austin for giving him a unique sense of place. Name drop Buddy Holly, the Clash, and Bruce Springsteen. Bemoan radio's inability to decide whether he's too country for rock, or too rock for country. That's it. You're done. Done. All that needs to be said has been said.

Joe Ely along with Steve Earle and some other performers on the Randy Newman tribute album found

the press saying the Newman has gone country.  Today he is on the play list of  KZLA's Altville and is

one of the original Texas Outlaws of Austin fame...Joe is in the Lubbock Texas Hall of Fame, along

with Waylon Jennings, Buddy Hollywood and some of his saddle pals.

 

In the late 1990s Ely was asked to write songs for Robert Redford's movie The Horse Whisperer, which led to reforming The Flatlanders with Gilmore and Hancock for an appearance on the movie soundtrack.

 

Years back where Ely was big in Europe and touring with the Clash, Time Magazine reported that one

of the top country acts is yet to be discovered in the US, while he was taking Europe by storm.

 

 

Around the mid-'70s, he formed an eclectic group who was able to swing from Cajun and western to honky-tonk stomps and rockabilly; they were signed to MCA in 1977. Ely released an eponymous debut that year, using songs written by Gilmore and Hancock and throwing in some of his own road-worn, oddly poetic originals.

The next year brought Honky Tonk Masquerade, the cornerstone of Ely's legacy and one of modern country's most ambitious albums. Further albums (especially Live Shots, recorded during his European tour with the Clash) brought him to the attention of rock fans and netted ecstatic reviews in country and pop magazines.  In 1987 Hightone label signed him and released Lord of the Highway. Another Hightone album followed before Ely (whose influence was being felt by the new breed of country neo-traditionalists) re-signed with MCA, releasing another live set and Love and Danger. Twistin' in the Wind followed in 1998, and Live at Antone's arrived two years later along with MCA Nashville's "best of" collection.

Ely's most recent collection of new material is 2003's Streets of SinSettle for Love, a compilation of previously released works culled from 1987's Lord of the Highway and 1988's "Dig All Night, surfaced in 2004.  He still gets together with his Flatlander buddies and does some barn burner tours.

 

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