Ray Wylie Hubbard

A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C) (Bordello)

Texas Platters

Ray Wylie Hubbard

A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C) (Bordello)

Any short list of top Austin artists of the last decade counts Ray Wylie Hubbard in its upper reaches. Eternal & Lowdown (2001), Growl (2003), Delirium Tremolos (2005), Snake Farm (2006), one after another, the Wimberley outlaw's output bumps 'n' grinds a bluesman's disposition and the lyricism of a fascist-killing folkie. Like Lucinda Williams, every blessed bon mot Hubbard drawls sounds lowdown – and eternal. (See also 1997's Dangerous Spirits.) His first long-player since Eternal & Lowdown (another decade best) not produced by Gurf Morlix, A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment summates itself in a song, Hubbard and Hayes Carll's all-time Texas anthem "Drunken Poet's Dream," originally recorded for the latter's 2008 Lost Highway breakthrough, Trouble in Mind. Tweaked to a finer point here, including Morlix and Jeff Plankenhorn's electric guitars burning a cigarette hole through it, "Poet's" redneck oath – "I'm gonna hollar and I'm gonna scream, I'm gonna get me some mescaline. Then I'm gonna rhyme that with gasoline" – pledges "T" is for Texas and Horton Foote, not for Tennessee Williams. The title track's album-opening chant even whispers mandolin-plucked hints of "The Battle of Evermore," causing heaven's pouring "down rain and lightning bolts." Preachy "Down Home Country Blues" honks barroom, while "Pots and Pans" mattes the platter's overall Heartattack and Vine vibe. Meantime, the lead-off invocation's black sparrow returns as the ultimate bad harbinger (a crow) in "Tornado Ripe," whose harrowing "death and kindlin'" demands the good ol' "Whoop and Hollar" that follows before "Black Wings" beats a campfire dirge. Payday drain and hangover "Loose" could go, but the three closers, beginning with the two-minute sonic scratchboard of "Every Day Is the Day of the Dead," guitar and warnings in Spanish by Billy Cassis, who then helps blow Hubbard's resonator smoke in "Opium" next, hit pay dirt. "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" kicks Enlightenment/Endarkenment shut on Dustin Welch's banjo and Trisha Keefer's redemption day fiddle. Four remains a recurring number in Ray Wylie Hubbard's realm. (Ray Wylie Hubbard takes scalps at his CD release, Friday, Jan. 15, at Antone's.)

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Ray Wylie Hubbard
The Messenger: The Songwriting Legacy of Ray Wylie Hubbard
The Messenger: The Songwriting Legacy of Ray Wylie Hubbard

Doug Freeman, Dec. 6, 2019

Quit Your Day Job: Ray Wylie Hubbard
Quit Your Day Job: Ray Wylie Hubbard
Singer-songwriter on his days burning down Burger King

Doug Freeman, Aug. 25, 2017

More Music Reviews
Faster Than Sound: Patti Smith and Bikini Kill in One Weekend
Patti Smith and Bikini Kill in One Weekend
Lighting strikes twice in Austin, and Pleasure Venom opens

Rachel Rascoe, May 13, 2022

Dispatches From a New Decade of SXSW
Dispatches From a New Decade of SXSW
Our favorite musical moments from the fest

Kevin Curtin, March 25, 2022

More by Raoul Hernandez
Review: Haunter’s <i>Discarnate Ails</i>
Review: Haunter’s Discarnate Ails
A three-song behemoth from Central Texas death metal unit debut on Profound Lore

May 20, 2022

William Basinski Proves a Rock Star of Experimental Sound
William Basinski Proves a Rock Star of Experimental Sound
Texan auditory stud beguiles Elysium prior to lunar eclipse

May 16, 2022

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Ray Wylie Hubbard

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle