Ray Wylie Hubbard – The Ruffian’s Misfortune (2015)

ray wylie hubbard ruffianRay Wylie Hubbard isn’t exactly morose on his latest album, but neither is he his usual lively bad-ass self.

He mines his niche well, the old (he’s 68) red dirt rebel; bluesy grooves, homespun philosophy, autobiographical stories and shout-outs on music making, but it’s less self-assured than we’ve come to expect. There’s a spark missing.

Hopefully bracketing the album with a blackbird portending death isn’t his misfortune. It’s a worry though because all the songs in between reference angels, heaven and/or seeking salvation, and the Ruffian, which Ray Wylie was until he got sober 20+ years ago, hopes he’s done enough repenting to get into heaven.

You have, Ray Wylie, but I’d be obliged if you’d stay put awhile.