March 14 — WEST TEXAS WALTZ, Joe Ely (1978)

IMG_1704A trip to West Texas isn’t complete until you listen to Joe Ely. I’ve been following Ely’s career since seeing him at the Austin Music Awards and SXSW in 1988. He first gained attention as a member of Lubbock’s legendary Flatlanders in the early ’70s. After one album, each member (the others being Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore) went on to achieve notable solo careers. Ely’s has been the most expansive, working with everyone from the Clash to Bruce Springsteen to Lyle Lovett. He’s a troubadour to this day, playing roadhouses, folk clubs and honky-tonks, and, despite a 45-year career, his new material doesn’t sound dated or tired. But still — especially on a beautiful morning drive with the family to Fort Davis — it’s hard to deny the playfulness amidst the accordion in “West Texas Waltz.”



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