Ray Wylie unspooling “Dallas After Midnight,” with miles and miles of highways.
Years and years ago, a fishing buddy wrote about listening to a Hank 3 album while six hours of Texas back roads loomed on his horizon. The old route from Ft. Worth to Austin, and now, further south to San Antonio.
I would suggest this is a recent affection of mine, but I’ve got two, maybe three decades, or more, listening to Ray Wylie and his music. For this last road trip, I had a number of his albums stacked up on the phone’s playlist, and I just let the music gently segue into itself, shuffling along.
Hot summer afternoon. The countryside still achingly verdant and lush, with unwatered lawns starting to scorch. Dappled brown against the — feels like — tropical green.
Last time I was out this way was in ’09, fishing trips that fall. Nothing since, as duties beckon elsewhere.
Next trip, like this, think I’ll spool up that Hank 3 stuff again.
Then again, what started this all? British Blues Man?
Warm wind blowing
Heating blue sky
And road that go forever
I’m going to Texas
- Chris Rea, Texas. Warner Music
Places like Smithville and Round Top are an hour or more east of here. Guess a hundred miles. It’s probably been a decade or more since I fished Fayette County.
I’ve scooted along the Texas Coastal plains for most near all my life, at one time or another. Earliest memories include driving at night to avoid the summer heat.
The music paints a picture, and there was a cause for reflection. One of my oldest, non-astrological, although this is prompted by the current state of the stars, one of my oldest pieces of web-writing, serious proto-blogger material, was about seeing Ray Wylie, and realizing that he was an impressive poetic voice on the Texas music scene. Slowly, over the years, he’s turned out album after album to limited release and minor notice, with each set of songs having at least one piercing set of lyrics.
Part rock, part blues, part Texas Country, part defies taxonomy, the music, the lyrics, there’s the depth of passion, and Texana niche before there were people who told us what niche it was.
Might’ve been a British Blues man who stared this thought process, but it winds its way from Dallas to Poetry, to Austin, and ending in Central Texas with a Texas Troubadour of the highest caliber. Poet’s heart, and novelist’s eye.
Scorpio, too, not that it matters.