Brian Atkinson’s third book considers the legacy of Ray Wylie Hubbard as a songwriter. Of course, Ray Wylie’s legacy looms large in every area of music: performance, guitar playing, mentoring, storytelling and human psychology.
Hubbard says he never thought about the legacy of his songwriting: “I guess I’ve written some pretty cool songs that nobody else seems to be writing. As guess as far as legacy, I hope it’s that I wrote some cool, badass songs. Some sold and some didn’t. Most didn’t.”
The book has forewords by a couple of other Texans, Jerry Jeff Walker and Hayes Carll. Pretty fair songwriters, too.
Atkinson’s third book for Texas A&M University Press will be released August 16. He says that sometimes Hubbard, a leader of the 70s’ Cosmic Cowboy movement, has been overlooked as a great songwriter. One can only assume that those who have overlooked Ray’s work either can’t read or don’t listen.
This new book will correct the oversight. More than 70 songwriters from Rodney Crowell to Hayes Carll testify to the value of Hubbard’s body of work.
An album titled The Messenger: A Tribute to Ray Wylie Hubbard is set for fall release from Eight 30 records. It features performances by Charlie Musselwhite, “Resurrection”; Rodney Crowell, “In Times of Cold”; Bobby Bare, “Snake Farm”; James McMurtry on the title track “The Messenger,” and more Americana all-stars.