Joe Ely Plays Spencer Theater for the Performing Arts Tonight


Singer-songwriter Joe Ely is a progressive-folk country rocker who's been intimate with the road for decades. Since he first hitched a ride out of his native Lubbock a good 40 years ago, he's been traveling highways and back roads across America and Europe, playing his hit tunes like "Dallas," "She Never Spoke Spanish To Me," "Me and Billy The Kid" and "West Texas Waltz" at countless stops in between. To stay sane on the road, he's consistently penned verses that sometimes morphed into songs, and other times remained "snapshots of what was flying by, just out of reach, so as to savor at a later date when the wheels stop rolling...."

Ely is considered one of the true pioneers of the alternative country or Americana, "too rock for country, too country for rock" brigade. His boundary-blurring blend of country, rock, blues and folk have sometimes been termed "roadhouse music," but might most accurately be described as "Texas music" -- a lyrical blend steeped in a distinctively Lone Star state of mind. Notes music critic Rich Kienzle of Amazon, "Joe Ely has carved a unique and influential niche for himself during his years as a solo performer. His incomparable stories overflow with humanity and humor, not to mention an idiosyncratic West Texas perspective. He was 'alt country' before the genre existed and can be justly credited as a fountainhead of that movement...."

Ely reflects Texas's rich musical stew in his critically acclaimed new CD Satisfied at Last. In a career of 18 albums, not including the three he helped write, record and release with his Flatlander Lubbock buddies Jimmy Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock. Satisfied at Last is the album of his life. Literally. "It reflects where I am and where I've been," he explains. "The whole record takes a kind of journey. As you reflect on it, you're just glad you made it. Everything adds up differently than you thought it would."

Musically and lyrically, Satisfied at Last represents a pilgrimage, from the vagabond troubadour's perspective of the album-opening "The Highway Is My Home" to the spiritual acceptance of the closing "Circumstance." The tunes are true alt-country, packed with reverence and images of open horizons along the land and road. "Ely's lyrics weave a tapestry of imagery and imagination, weary worlds and dirt roads, the elegance of diamonds in dust."

Joe Ely is a Texas music icon. Hear him jam live with his band (guitars, bass, drums) at the Spencer, tonight, July 19 at 8 p.m. Excellent seats are available for $69 & $66. Call the Spencer Box Office at 575.336.4800 or go online to A pre-performance BBQ brisket buffet ($20) will also be available in the lobby at 6 p.m.

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