The days I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, I have really good days.. Today I am having a really good day!
RAY WYLIE HUBBARD
Ray Wylie Hubbard closed out his set on Austin City Limits with gratitude. Gratitude for sharing the ACL stage with his son Lucas Hubbard. Lucas, is an amazing guitarist, if you want to appreciate a great guitar man and great music by a talented poetic, singer song writer, then you really need to watch the concert on PBS that aired this week.
RWH was grateful for the other members of the band as well, his long time drummer Kyle Schneider and Austin musicians, the keyboardist Bukka Allen and bassist Gurf Morlix. Ray Wylie expressed his gratitude to Austin City Limits executive producer, Terry Lickona for making it all possible.
“There’s no good excuse for why it took Ray Wylie to finally make his debut on Austin City Limits after 46 years, but like a fine whiskey, some things just keep getting better with age. Ray Wylie is in his prime right now, and also like a fine whiskey, there’s no better antidote to a year-long pandemic!”
Hubbard says it himself during the show, that his music is an acquired taste. I am glad I acquired the taste. He is one of my favorite artists these days in telling a story and painting that into a perfect picture with his words and music. I love the way he shows in his music his many experiences through a lifetime of following his dreams and doing what he loves to do. You can see by the way his face lights up when he plays and sings, that being up on the stage sharing his words to the world is truly his happy place.
During the set, RWH played his oldies like “Snake Farm”. He played music from his latest album, Co-Starring. He highlighted on songs he cowrote. “Drunken Poet’s Dream” a song he wrote with Hayes Carll and “Bad Trick” that was written with his wife and manager, Judy Hubbard.
I know there are many more songs left to write and Ray Wylie Hubbard has more stories to tell. I am grateful for the experience of having front row seats to his show, even if it was on my living room TV set. After the pandemic there will be time to see him live somewhere down the road. But today I am just having a really good day by getting to absorb his words and music in my own way.
Chorus: “Stuff That Works”. Written by Guy Clark and Rodney Crowell
If I could have written any song, I wish I would have written this one. “Stuff That Works” is a place that I can go when nothing else seems to be working. The song is about gratitude and appreciation for the things that we already have. How many times have I taken someone or something for granted only to later realize that I miss it/them when no longer around.
I got an ol’ blue shirt and it suits me just fine
I like the way it feels so I wear it all the time
I got an old guitar, won’ t ever stay in tune
I like the way it sounds in a dark and empty room
The song opens up with this verse. The old blue shirt. Perhaps Guy’s signature. Wrangler Denim. Faded cotton. On the Album cover of his debut album Old Number 1, there’s a painting done by Guy’s wife Susanna Clark of this “old blue shirt.” The shirt hanging alone offset in the portrait. On the album cover, a young Guy Clark stands proud near that painting wearing what else? “An Old Blue Shirt”
I have a shirt like this myself. It is most likely the most comfortable shirt that I own. I can think back to my childhood and recall my own father wearing similar shirts. The old blue shirt is stuff that works. I don’t suppose they have ever gone out of style. The shirt is worn and holds up to the times. I have seen the shirts worn by Welders and Cowboys, Mechanics, Country singers and regular guys like me.
I got an old pair of boots and they fit just right
Well I can work all day and I can dance all night
I got an ol’ used car and it runs just like a top
I get the feelin’ it ain’ t ever gonna stop
I have driven the same ol’ pickup truck since 2013. Sure I have to replace a transmission, serpentine belt and a water pump. More recently I got new brake drums and front rotors. I have wrecked it and repaired it. It still runs good and it gets me where I need to be. Sure I would like something a little newer, a little fancier. I had a pretty good offer not long ago when I thought I needed something new. The trucks I am looking for today, are the cost of what I think my house is worth! I don’t know how anyone can afford to drive the top of the line Ford or Chevy. Sometimes I feel jealous or envious but that is beside the point. Responsibly I chose to keep my “ol’ truck.” Hell it is paid for. I got the feelin’ it ain’t never gonna stop.
My ol pickup, “silver”
I got a pretty good friend who’s seen me at my worst
He can’ t tell if I’ m a blessing or a curse
But he always shows up when chips are down
That’s the kind of stuff I like to be around
I am usually a pretty likeable guy. I am easy to get along with. Mostly, I am non judgemental towards others. I like to think these are pretty good qualities about myself. I am blessed to have a few. Perhaps three or maybe four men that I can think of that fit this quality. “A pretty good friend who’s seen me at my worst.”
The man I consider my very best friend has a wife who likes to say that I have no filter. Yet even being filterless, he chooses to be my friend. I can talk to him about anything on my mind. Sometimes I don’t want to hear what he chooses to tell me back. He calls me on my bullshit. He can be as honest with me as I am with him. He gives sound advise based on his own experiences of this place we call life. I know he will be here until the end. Every time, I need him.
Friends for life are a treasure. Hold on to that.
I am blessed to have some ‘pretty good friends”
I got a woman I love she’ s crazy, paints like God
She’ s got a playground sense of justice, she won’ t take odds
I got a tattoo with her name right through my soul
I think everything she touches turns to gold
Of course, when Guy wrote this line, he is talking about Susanna. Susanna was a brilliant painter. She was a friend to any and all. She had qualities that influenced many other singer/songwriters. Townes Van Zandt loved her as much as Guy himself did. Rodney Crowell and Steve Earl would later agree that a song wasn’t completely written until it had Susanna’s seal of approval.
I’ve got a woman I love. It took me many years and many women. This certainly isn’t my first marriage. I pray each day and work harder than I ever have on this relationship so that it will be my last.
We aren’t always perfect. Is anyone’s marriage perfect?
We try and try again. I met her many years ago and for many years, we were just friends. I think that our friendship is one of our biggest bonds. I could consider her in the previous verse she could also fit into that category of someone who has seen me at my worst. She makes me my best. When I am with her, I have the strength and the courage to do anything I set my mind to do.
We have a marriage that is strong because we work hard each day to put God at the center. We are learning to communicate, to listen to each other and to hold each other accountable. I knew from the moment I saw her that I loved her. I have worn that “Tattoo” across my soul for the last 12 years and I will wear that for the rest of my life.
Stuff that works, Stuff that holds up, That’s the kind of stuff I like to be around.
As I write this, there is less than 7 hours in this 2020.
Oh what a strange and wild year this has been. First, I learned of the corona in March of this year. Only weeks after my Wedding. We traveled into New Mexico because I wanted to be wed in Lincoln County. I originally asked her to marry me at the state line between Texas and New Mexico and since we have been together New Mexico has been our home away from home. Don’t get me wrong I’ll always call myself TEXAN, but I do love the New Mexico landscape. Sandy desert and sage and cactus and rock and in a matter of minutes I can view the most lush and beautiful evergreen and the majestic snow- capped peaks.
Besides the “rona” there has been crazy times even somewhat scary times. Our economy has been unstable. The politics of this country have been insane. 2020 was an election year. I voted too. Everybody has a point of view. All have picked sides. Ok I will say it. I voted Republican. I had my reasons. And the Democrats have their own. I truly don’t care who you voted for because it was your right and your freedom. I am not here to justify or debate my own reasons. The Republican party claims that the Democrats cheated. That things are not being fair. The Democrats are blaming the Republicans for everything that has gone wrong. The way the government has handled the virus, the economy. It doesn’t really matter. What is done is done. Right now we need a solution not more pollution. Until the left and the right can see through the same pair of glasses my fear is that the struggles will continue. I am proud of my country. I served this Nation. I am not proud of the way Americans are acting today. Things have got to get better. Things WILL get better. How can they not. If they don’t we are all gonna be screwed it will not matter anyway. We will probably all end up dead or worse. In a bloody battle to the end of time. Only the strong, only the chosen will survive. Does anyone remember Earl Pitts? “WAKE UP AMERICA!”
As I write this, I have faith. Faith in our nation. Faith that the virus will become controllable. Faith in the great state of TEXAS and New Mexico. Faith in the Republicans and the Democrats. Faith that one day we will all just get along again Most importantly I have faith that GOD has a plan.
Enough of my rant….
As I write this, I have gratitude for the life I am building. I am grateful for God, Country, and my Sobriety. As of May 19, 2021, I will have 12 years sober. This New Years Eve is my 11th New Years to be sober. I am grateful for the music and the ones who make it. I am grateful for the release and the escape that music has given me from these troubled times. As I write this, I am grateful for the friends and my family. MY FAMILY- a loving, tolerant wife. Two beautiful daughters and a son. A mom and dad who are still active and alive. Wonderful in laws. Countless cousins, aunts, and uncles. As I write this, I want to thank each of you who have taken time to read and support this blog in these trying last few months.
As I write this, I want to wish each of you the happiest of New Years. I hope you all can be safe and healthy this New Year’s Eve. I hope each of you can be reminded of what you can be grateful for as well.
Santa came by yesterday. AKA my Father in law. And he makes a damn good Santa at that. He and my mother in law have the most giving hearts. They have always done their best to support us on this journey called life, unconditionally.
In a socially distanced sort of way, He left Christmas gifts for the wife and I.
This morning bright and early we opened our gifts to see what Santa had brought.
I was surprised by the plain white album cover and the simple type of the title page.
Chris Stapleton Starting Over.
I am currently listening to the first of the double record enclosed. I have heard most of the content before and even wrote about it not long ago in my attempt at some review. The music sounds so much better this Christmas morning playing on vinyl and coming through the speakers in my living room!
It’s a mean old world out there and the world has gotten sick. These songs are just what I am going through and what the rest of the world is going through to. I think that idea gives me some hope as I realize that I am not alone in any of this.
Well, if I was recording an album amidst a pandemic, I would most likely do it the same way. No frothy emotional appeal by some staged up photo shoot on the cover of the album. Isn’t It supposed to be about the music anyway?
Stapleton gives encouragement as I open the album flap. Inside he has written:
“In my life when I’ve needed strength, love, peace, joy, friendship, focus, courage, understanding, hope, or healing I’ve found these things in music. As you listen, I pray you find some of these things here. May we all look to the best of who we’ve been & the promise of who we can be. Here’s to starting over.”
So far, my wife has decided that “When I’m With You” is her favorite from the album. I can sure relate to the lyrics of the song. The lyrics tell a story of gratitude throughout this storm we call life. I am glad I have someone like her by my side. She is the best thing that has happened to me. Her strong temperament teaches me to be stronger. When I am with her, I have the will to do better than I have ever done. I work harder and try my best at doing the best I can do. When you do something do it with excellence is something that she has instilled in me.
Merry Christmas to all. This year has been different, I know that I have even complained recently how it didn’t feel like Christmas. But reflection this morning I am starting to re- think that statement. What is Christmas supposed to feel like anyway? Remembering the reason for the season. We are celebrating the birth of Jesus. Without the birth, there would have never been the death that day at Calvary. For God gave his son to die for me and my sin. Because of him I am free and have eternal life. I pray that whoever needs to hear it hears Jesus in their hearts and minds today. Heaven’s just a prayer away.
Perhaps 2020 and the Pandemic is the way that God is showing us the wrong from right. Did God not give us a rainbow after the flood? Just because there isn’t that pot of gold at the end of it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t worth it.