Returning to LA

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By Kirsten Laskey

The first time Texan Americana musician Ray Wylie Hubbard came to Los Alamos, there was a cloud hanging over the town, literally.

The Cerro Grande Fire had just finished rampaging through the area and people were anxious to see what  had happened to their houses, family and friends.

Despite the dour situation, Hubbard’s memories of the place are pleasant.

He described the crowd as being “warm and generous.”

“We had a great time,” Hubbard said.

And he is looking forward to returning to Los Alamos and entertaining locals once again. The show, which is part of the Los Alamos Summer Concert Series, will begin at 7 p.m. Friday at Ashley Pond. Hubbard, along with drummer Rick Richards and his 16-year-old son and lead guitarist Lucas, will perform Americana music. Americana, Hubbard explained, is a wide mix of musical styles from blues to folk music.

“It’s a little bit of everything,” he said. “I would describe it as good.”

Hubbard will also be adding his own dash of style, as well.  “I got a funky attitude anyway (and) it kind of comes across in the songs,” Hubbard said.

Playing alongside his son is another plus.  Hubbard said his son “keeps me on my toes. He’s a good little player.”

He added his son has earned the gig.

The same could be said about Hubbard.

Hubbard is no lightweight in the music world. “He’s a heavy duty guy,” said Los Alamos County Summer Concert Series organizer Russ Gordon.

Heavy duty, indeed. In the 1970s, Hubbard was part of a renegade group of Country Western musicians known as the Cosmic Cowboys, which included Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker and others. Gordon explained they were not into “playing by rules of Nashville.”

“All of them wrote incredible songs,” he said.

According to Hubbard’s website, his song, “Up Against the Wall, Red Neck Mother,” became a success on Walker’s “Viva Terlingua.” But success brought Hubbard addictions to alcohol and drugs.

In true artistic fashion however, it was a musician who offered Hubbard an escape from his vices. The website reports that Stevie Ray Vaughn showed him the path to walk away from drugs and alcohol. Since then, Hubbard said he continues to learn new things in music, which has “opened doors to different songs.”

Additionally, absorbing new knowledge prevents him from getting caught in a rut. Recently, he released his newest album, “Snake Farm.” The title song is a humorous depiction of a boyfriend feeling queasy about his girlfriend’s unusual job. Hubbard’s low, raspy voice just adds more spice to the piece.

Gordon said, “He just writes very interesting songs and he’s fun.”