Twangri-La

Ray Wylie Hubbard Live at Southgate House Revival in Newport, KY

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Reviewed by Harry Kaplan

The tide seems to be changing. People appear to be gravitating towards artists that are creative, and free thinking. My proof is the fact that there was pretty packed house to see Ray Wylie Hubbard on a Sunday night. I was extremely encouraged by the size of the crowd and the fact that I am using this as a barometer to measure interest in Americana. It appears that this genre , along with classic and outlaw country are gaining traction and more people are realizing that this is damn good music. I am truly happy for Ray and the band. They deserve the adulation.  The irony is that Ray is one of the most humble rock stars there is. 

This was a magical night. The band was sparse, just Ray, his son Lucas on guitar, and Kyle Snider on drums and backing vocals. Snider is a perfect drummer for Ray. He clearly has mad respect for the band leader and is a really good drummer. He isn’t flashy, but he keeps a perfect beat and he doesn’t let his drumming upstage Mr. Hubbard.

Now onto the guitar player, Lucas Hubbard. This 24 year old is an absolutely stellar guitar player. This is not just nepotism, Lucas could play with anyone he wants to. It is just an absolutely great story that he is playing with his dad. Totally makes me all misty eyed. Lucas has such a clean style and his notes are perfect for the songs. He didn’t miss a note the entire night, and I was paying close attention! There is no bass player in the band and Lucas’s lead guitar style doesn’t require one. His sound is so full that there was no gap even without that extra instrument.

 

Ray played all of his big songs including Drunken Poet’s Dream, Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother, Snake Farm, etc. The crowd wasn’t only large, but they were interactive. It seems everyone intimately knew all the songs and were able to sing along note for note. Well not quite. The crowd’s timing was not so good and Ray quipped that instead of buying merch, we should invest in a tuning fork and a metronome. It was quite funny and everyone laughed. This was a truly magical evening with a living legend. I look forward to my next opportunity to see Ray and company live. He is electrifying.

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