Ray Wylie Hubbard – The Messenger

A new book to unearth the songwriting talents of Ray Wylie Hubbard

‘The Messenger:

The Songwriting Legacy of Ray Wyley Hubbard’

Out August 16

Brian T. Atkinson’s forthcoming The Messenger: The Songwriting Legacy of Ray Wylie Hubbard will be released on August 16, 2019 through Texas A&M University Press.

“You know, I’ve never thought about my songwriting legacy,” Hubbard admits. “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 Messenger features forewords by Jerry Jeff Walker and Hayes Carll and marks Atkinson’s third book for TAMU Press following I’ll Be Here in the Morning: The Songwriting Legacy of Townes Van Zandt (2012) and Kent Finlay, Dreamer: The Musical Legacy Behind Cheatham Street Warehouse (2016).

The Messenger spotlights one of the leading voices in the 1970’s Cosmic Country movement and his seamless transformation from youthful jester into one of today’s most sage and spiritual musical mentors. Ray Wylie Hubbard has been overlooked in the conversation about great Texas songwriters for far too long,” Atkinson says. “He shouldn’t be passed by. As several dozen songwriters within these pages proclaim, Hubbard has created a catalog over the past four decades deserving mention among monumental tunesmiths such as Guy Clark, Steve Earle, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Kris Kristofferson, Mickey Newbury, Billy Joe Shaver and Townes Van Zandt.”  

More than seventy songwriters — including legends like Rodney Crowell, Kinky Friedman, Michael Martin Murphey and Jerry Jeff Walker as well as younger stars Hayes Carll, Ben Kweller, Aaron Lee Tasjan and Paul Thorn — back the claim.

“Brian T. Atkinson’s informative oral biography of progressive country pioneer Ray Wylie Hubbard rocks and succeeds in narrating Ray’s brave and important journey,” iconic folksinger Tom Russell says. “The book serves as an oral testament to a vastly important time and place in American music — Texas music in the last 50 years. Ray is a hero.”

“This jam-packed, anecdotal tome was written about those who love songwriting by a man who loves the twisted, mystical and not so easily explained lives of songwriters,” echoes East Nashville favorite son Tim Easton. “The harrowing life of an addict never sounded so pretty or funny at the same time. Recovery and self-reconciliation in The Messenger simply make for beautiful music. This isn’t your grandfather’s cautionary tale – or even the devil’s.”

Author Brian T. Atkinson

Finlay and Atkinson own Austin-based Eight 30 Records and have produced the forthcoming album The Messenger: A Tribute to Ray Wylie Hubbard (due this year), featuring performances by Charlie Musselwhite (“Resurrection”), Rodney Crowell (“In Times of Cold”), Bobby Bare (“Snake Farm”), James McMurtry (the title track), Tom Russell (“Dust of the Chase”), The Band of Heathens (“Drunken Poet’s Dream”) and more.

Atkinson is currently working on Looks Like Rain: The Songwriting Legacy of Mickey Newbury for TAMU Press (tentatively scheduled for a 2022 release).



A new book to unearth the songwriting talents of Ray Wylie Hubbard

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