Ray Wylie Hubbard Reviewed

Snake Farm (Sustain)

Ray Wylie Hubbard Reviewed

Ray Wylie Hubbard

Snake Farm (Sustain)

If Lightnin' Hopkins met ZZ Top at Gurf Morlix's house and cut a record, it would sound like Ray Wylie Hubbard's Snake Farm. Since 2001's Eternal and Lowdown, Hubbard has worked with Morlix as his producer, and together they've made some of the finest music of RWH's career, imbuing his words with a blues vibe that brims with grit and spirit. This time they've gone extra-heavy on the rattlesnake shake, creating a document that revels in the shivering dark. Few songwriters anywhere could include an ode to a dancing reptile house worker, a reference to Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, and tunes influenced by Dante's Inferno and the mythology of Joseph Campbell on one album without reaching for pretentiousness. Yet Hubbard's Western wordplay is, as always, unmatched, even if he seems a little quicker with a witty throwaway or two this time around. After evoking the devil in its various forms throughout Snake Farm, Hubbard's "Resurrection" at the close is all the more redeeming. Al Grierson's free-spirited retelling of the original Easter Sunday, augmented by Ruthie Foster's gospel wail, is a beam of light offering blessed satisfaction. Snake Farm, like so much of Hubbard's masterful oeuvre, might be best appreciated by those with a permanent Lone Star state of mind – especially those not apprehensive of things that slither in the basement – but for those who have positively reveled in Ray Wylie Hubbard's recent string of recorded triumphs, this is another step closer to the truth.

***

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Ray Wylie Hubbard, Snake Farm

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