Joe Ely

Another in a rich tradition of superb Texas songwriters, Joe Ely is among a select handful who hail from the wind-swept plains around Lubbock, whose panhandle geography imbues them with a haunting, grit-flecked grandeur and squinty-eyed existentialist outlook. It's the land the doomed Buddy Holly called home, as well as Ely's compatriots in the Flatlanders, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock. With 30-some years between the first and second coming of the Flatlanders, Ely pursued a solo career that was often artistically phenomenal but less so commercially, neatly sidestepping easy categorizing by tapping border radio eclecticism and riding the range from country and Tex-Mex to roots rock, blues, and honky-tonk. Ely's written a lot of great songs over the years: "Up on the Ridge," "Because the Wind," "Cool Rockin' Loretta," "Me and Billy the Kid," and "Letter to Laredo" spring to mind. Many of those will probably surface as Ely appears in a relatively intimate barroom setting, essentially his natural habitat. Percussionist Pat Manske, who has played with the Flatlanders, will accompany Ely. Iron Range bard Paul Metsa will open. (Photo by Rodney Bursiel)
Tue., June 15, 7 p.m., 2010

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