No Depression (7-8/01, pp.122-3) - "Easily Ray Wylie Hubbard's most musically satisfying recording...a bluegrass album of guiding spirit..."
Personnel: Ray Wylie Hubbard (vocals, guitar); Jeff Plankenhorn (dobro); Eamon McLaughlin (fiddle); Bryan Standefer (viola); Ian McLagan (Hammond B-3 organ); Rick Richards (drums, percussion); Martha Merriell (background vocals).
Recorded at Rootball Studios, Austin, Texas in September 2000.
Personnel: Ray Wylie Hubbard (acoustic guitar, slide guitar, resonator guitar, mandolin); Gurf Morlix (guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, organ, bass guitar); Jeff Plankenhorn (dobro).
Audio Mixer: Gurf Morlix.
Liner Note Author: Rob Patterson.
Recording information: Rootball Studios, Austin, TX (09/2000).
Photographer: Steve Harris .
This is Ray Wylie Hubbard's blues album, though it is not blues in the traditional sense of 12-bar and three-chord progressions. However it is blues in feel, which is far more important. There are elements of slow country-blues to the soul styling from Memphis. It is the spoken blues of Woodie Guthrie and Bob Dylan, but Ray Wylie has always been of that school of singer/songwriter going back to his early days. The big kicker here is that he has enlisted the stellar assistance of Gurf Morlix as both producer and guitarist. Gurf's guitar and production adds sound as if it is laid down in the desert with a windstorm ragin' and the sandy grit permeating into every smallest crack and opening there is to be found or not. This, combined with the laconic/wry wit of the Ray Wylie-crafted songs provides a combination that seems so natural you wonder why it was never done before. You know that Ray is no longer imbibing as he did at one time and he has seen his path, but can also laugh at where he was. He is constantly taking a good hard look at that fine line between good and evil and is not afraid to approach it. Ray Wylie pens ten of the 11 songs, and he approaches that minute line and even straddles it fearlessly in this collection that further exposes his/your demons. But under all of it there is a beauty that shines through for the life you have. ~ Bob Gottlieb