Joe Ely

Last updated
Joe Ely
Joe Ely 2017.jpg
Ely in 2017
Background information
Born (1947-02-09) February 9, 1947 (age 73)
Amarillo, Texas, United States
Origin Lubbock, Texas, United States
Genres Americana, Texas country, country rock, progressive country, outlaw country, alt-country, heartland rock, Tex-Mex, rockabilly, rock and roll
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, guitarist
Instruments Vocals, Guitar
Years active1970–present
Labels MCA, Hightone
Associated acts The Flatlanders, Los Super Seven, James McMurtry
Website JoeEly.com

Joe Ely (born February 9, 1947) is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist whose music touches on honky-tonk, Texas country, Tex-Mex and rock and roll.

Contents

He has had a genre-crossing career, performing with Bruce Springsteen, Uncle Tupelo, Los Super Seven, The Chieftains and James McMurtry in addition to his early work with The Clash and more recent acoustic tours with Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, and Guy Clark.

Biography

Early life and career

Ely spent his formative years from age 12 in Lubbock, Texas, and attended Monterey High School.

In 1970, with fellow Lubbock musicians Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock, he formed the Flatlanders. According to Ely, "Jimmie [Gilmore] was like a well of country music. He knew everything about it. And Butch was from the folk world. I was kinda the rock & roll guy, and we almost had a triad. We hit it off and started playing a lot together. That opened up a whole new world I had never known existed."[ citation needed ]

In 1972, the band recorded their first album. Since the band's initial breakup just after their first album was cut, the three musicians have followed individual paths, but have appeared together on each other's albums. They reformed for 2002's Now Again.

Solo career

Ely's own first, self-titled album, was released in 1977.

The following year, his band played London, where he met punk rock group the Clash. Impressed with each other's performances, the two bands later toured together, including appearances in Ely's hometown of Lubbock, as well as Laredo and Ciudad Juárez in Mexico, across the border from El Paso, Texas. The Clash paid tribute to Joe Ely by including the lyrics "Well there ain't no better blend than Joe Ely and his Texas Men" in the lyrics of their song "If Music Could Talk," which was released in 1980 on the album Sandinista . [1] Ely sang backing vocals on the Clash single "Should I Stay or Should I Go?". Joe Strummer planned to record with Ely's band, but died before that ever happened—one of Ely's greatest regrets. [2] Another collaboration was with Dutch flamenco guitarist Teye, with whom he recorded Letter to Laredo (1995) [3] and Twistin' in the Wind (1998). [4]

Throughout his career, Ely has issued a steady stream of albums, most on the MCA label, and a live album roughly every ten years.

On May 1, 1982 Joe Ely put on the Third Annual Tornado Jam in Lubbock, Texas to a crowd of 25,000. The Jam included Leon Russell, Joan Jett and The Crickets. The first Tornado Jam was fundraiser to help Lubbock, Texas after the Tornado, thus the name. The second Annual Tornado Jam had a crowd of 35,000. [5]

In the late 1990s, Ely was asked to write songs for the soundtrack of Robert Redford's movie The Horse Whisperer , which led to re-forming The Flatlanders with Gilmore and Hancock. A new album from the trio followed in 2002, with a third in 2004.

In February 2007, Ely released Happy Songs From Rattlesnake Gulch on his own label, Rack 'Em Records. Ely said in an interview with Country Standard Time that he thought it would be easier to release the material on his own label instead of dealing with a regular record label and their release cycles. A book of Ely's writings, Bonfire of Roadmaps, was published in early 2007 by the University of Texas Press. In early 2008, Ely released a new live album featuring Joel Guzman on accordion recorded at the Cactus Cafe in Austin, Texas late 2006.

The Flatlanders released their newest album Hills and Valleys on March 31, 2009.

In 2011, Ely released the critically acclaimed album, Satisfied At Last.

In September 2015, Ely released Panhandle Rambler, an album with a reflective west Texas feel. Lonestar Music Magazine says “the title fits the record just right, neatly framing a dozen songs that fit together thematically like a map of both the West Texas landscape and of Ely’s epic decades-spanning musical ramble. [6]

Ely spent 2016 as the reigning "Texas State Musician", a one-year designation which he formally accepted in a ceremony at the State Legislature that spring. [7]

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Joe Ely among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire. [8]

Lawsuit against Universal Music Group

On February 5, 2019, Ely and John Waite filed a class-action lawsuit against Universal Music Group (UMG) claiming the company is violating their right to terminate grants of copyright after 35 years in accordance with copyright law of the United States by ignoring Notices of Termination. May 3, 2019, UMG filed a motion to dismiss the case, stating the Notices of Termination were not valid because the songs were not grants of copyright but works for hire. [9] [10]

Discography

See also

Related Research Articles

Jimmie Dale Gilmore

Jimmie Dale Gilmore is an American country singer, songwriter, actor, recording artist and producer, currently living in Austin, Texas.

Universal Music Group American music corporation

Universal Music Group is an American global music corporation that is majority owned by the French media conglomerate Vivendi, with Chinese tech company Tencent owning a minority stake. UMG's global corporate headquarters are located in Santa Monica, California. The biggest music company in the world, it is one of the "Big Three" record labels, along with Sony Music and Warner Music Group. Ten percent of Universal Music Group was acquired by Tencent in March 2020 for US$3 billion.

Outlaw country Genre of country music

Outlaw country is a subgenre of American country music, most popular during the 1970s and early 1980s, sometimes referred to as the outlaw movement or simply outlaw music. The music has its roots in earlier subgenres like honky tonk and rockabilly and is characterized by a blend of rock and folk rhythms, country instrumentation and introspective lyrics. The movement began as a reaction to the slick production and popular structures of the Nashville sound developed by record producers like Chet Atkins.

Gary Ronnie Stewart was an American country musician and songwriter, known for his distinctive vibrato voice and his Southern rock influenced, outlaw country sound. During the peak of his popularity in the mid-1970s, Time magazine described him as the "king of honkytonk." He is remembered for a series of country chart hits from the mid– to late–1970s, his biggest hit being "She's Actin' Single ," which topped the U.S. country singles chart in 1975.

Wayne Hancock

Thomas Wayne Hancock III better known as Wayne "The Train" Hancock, is an American singer-songwriter. Hancock is known as "The King of Juke Joint Swing," because his sound is unique, as he incorporates jazz, big band, western swing, country and rockabilly, styles of music that he began listening to as a kid. His influences include Jimmie Rodgers, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Hank Thompson, Hank Williams and Hank Snow because they were all in his parents' record collection.

John Waite English musician

John Charles Waite is an English musician. As a solo artist, he has released ten studio albums and is best known for the 1984 hit single "Missing You", which reached No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the top ten on the UK Singles Chart. He was also the lead vocalist for the successful rock bands The Babys and Bad English.

Terry Allen (artist)

Terry Allen is an American Texas country and outlaw country singer-songwriter, painter and conceptual artist from Lubbock, Texas. He currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has recorded twelve albums of original songs, including the landmark releases Juarez (1975) and Lubbock (1979). His song "Amarillo Highway" has been covered by Bobby Bare, Sturgill Simpson and Robert Earl Keen. Other artists who have recorded Allen's songs include Guy Clark, Little Feat, David Byrne, Doug Sahm, Ricky Nelson, and Lucinda Williams. Rolling Stone magazine describes his catalog, reaching back to Juarez as "..uniformly eccentric and uncompromising, savage and beautiful, literate and guttural."

The Flatlanders

The Flatlanders are an American country band from Lubbock, Texas, United States, founded in 1972 by Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock. The group garnered little success during their brief original incarnation from 1972 to 1973, but when the individual members found success in their solo careers, interest in The Flatlanders was rekindled with the band reuniting several times since. An earlier incarnation of this band was known as The Double Mountain Fork Of The Brazos River Boys.

James Joseph Paulsen, known professionally as Joe Sun, was an American country music singer-songwriter. Recording for the Ovation and Elektra Records labels, Sun charted fourteen singles on the Hot Country Songs charts. His highest was his 1978 debut single, the No. 14 "Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You."

Butch Hancock

Butch Hancock, is a country/folk music recording artist and songwriter. Hancock is a member of The Flatlanders along with Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, but he has principally performed solo.

Mark Chesnutt

Mark Nelson Chesnutt is an American country music singer and songwriter. Between 1990 and 1999, he had his greatest chart success recording for Universal Music Group Nashville's MCA and Decca branches, with a total of eight albums between those two labels. During this timespan, Chesnutt also charted twenty top-ten hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, of which eight reached number one: "Brother Jukebox", "I'll Think of Something", "It Sure Is Monday", "Almost Goodbye", "I Just Wanted You to Know", "Gonna Get a Life", "It's a Little Too Late", and a cover of Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing". His first three albums for MCA along with a 1996 Greatest Hits package issued on Decca are all certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA); 1994's What a Way to Live, also issued on Decca, is certified gold. After a self-titled album in 2002 on Columbia Records, Chesnutt has continued to record predominantly on independent labels.

<i>Honky Tonk Masquerade</i> 1978 studio album by Joe Ely

Honky Tonk Masquerade is the second album by country singer-songwriter Joe Ely, released in 1978.

<i>Joe Ely</i> (album) 1977 studio album by Joe Ely

Joe Ely is the 1977 debut album by Texas singer-songwriter, Joe Ely. The album includes several tracks written by Ely's bandmates from The Flatlanders.

<i>Live Shots</i> 1980 live album by The Joe Ely Band

Live Shots is a live album recorded in London by American country outfit The Joe Ely Band during a 1980 tour supporting The Clash. The tour occurred at a high point in The Clash's popularity just after the release of the album, London Calling.

Reckless Kelly (band) American band

Reckless Kelly is an American country rock band. Formed in Idaho, the band moved to Austin, Texas in October 1996 and is now based there.

Jerry Naylor Jackson, known as Jerry Naylor, was an American country and rock and roll artist and broadcaster and inspirational speaker. From late 1961 through 1964 he was lead vocalist of The Crickets.

Jon Wolfe is an American country music singer-songwriter.

Joe Ely discography

Joe Ely is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. His discography consists of 18 studio albums, 5 live albums, 19 singles, 12 compilations, 1 EP, and 1 music video. In addition, he has been a performer on numerous albums by other artists.

Butch Hancock discography artist discography

Butch Hancock is a country and folk music recording artist and songwriter. His discography consists of 12 studio albums, 2 singles, and 2 compilations. In addition, his songs have been performed on numerous albums by other artists.

Jimmie Dale Gilmore discography artist discography

Jimmie Dale Gilmore is an American country singer, songwriter, actor, recording artist and producer. His discography consists of 9 studio albums, 1 live album, 2 compilations, 2 EPs, and 6 singles. In addition, his songs have been performed on numerous albums by other artists.

References

  1. "Google Play Music". Play.google.com. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  2. "London to Lubbock: Joe Ely meets the Clash". Ickmusic.com. Archived from the original on 2016-08-27. Retrieved 2015-12-12.
  3. McCall, Michael (1995-08-31). "Restless Spirit". Nashville Scene . Archived from the original on 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  4. Skanse, Richard (1998-05-18). "Texas Twister: Joe Ely goes to the movies and back to the flatlands". Rolling Stone . Retrieved 2010-01-25.Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)
  5. [Billboard May 1, 1982, page 30
  6. "Joe Ely: "Panhandle Rambler" - Lone Star Music Magazine". lonestarmusicmagazine.com. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  7. Blackstock, Peter. "'Panhandle Rambler' rides on: Joe Ely on his new album and more" . Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  8. Rosen, Jody (25 June 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  9. French, Leonard (18 May 2018). "Music Industry Opposes Copyright Termination; What is it?". Lawful Masses with Leonard French. YouTube . Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  10. Sanchez, Daniel (7 May 2018). "Universal Music Is Battling to Nullify the 35-Year Copyright Termination Right". digitalmusicnews.com. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
Awards
Preceded by
Alejandro Escovedo
AMA Lifetime Achievement Award for Performing
2007
Succeeded by
Jason & the Scorchers