Ray Wylie Hubbard at Round Top

Ray Wylie Hubbard put on quite a show Friday night at Round Top Festival Hill. If you’re a non-native and have any hope of being adopted in the Lone Star State you need to know about this native son.

Never having seen him before I have to say that the man can entertain! Even the concerts are bigger in Texas!

It was close to a full house in Concert Hall. Many of his faithful were there: a few times he stopped playing and they continued a Capella. One such song of his was:

                                                     up against the wall redneck mother

                                                     mother who has raised her son so well

and the gang contributed in unison so well so well so well

Speculating that some of his admirers were new to formal concert halls, he counseled calm … cause some of you have never been in a place that didn’t have a neon beer sign…….

He played, humored and told stories flat out – much of it with self-deprecation – for more than an hour and a half. And to his and the band’s credit it was a charitable event: international students will get scholarships to the summer music program at The Institute.

Between the many other Texas Blues songs he wrote and performed he recounted stages of his life. One of them gave him his now 21 year old son, Lucas, included in the quartet.

The great pleasure he gets from the two playing together is there for all to see and enjoy. One of RWH’s comments was that the young man hasn’t yet decided if the guitar will be his life. Judging by applause the crowd wishes it so.

At another point in his travels Hubbard was given the name of a book – Letters to a Young Poet (*) – that slapped him into an overdue dedication writing lyrics and playing music.

Researching, I found it is a well-known collection of letters in German from the early 1900’s. A frustrated, young aspiring poet Franz Kappus,  writes to an established writer of the day Ranier Maria Rilke. The nineteen year-old wants to be a published, famous poet.

Please Herr Rilke – it is implied – tell me how to make this happen quickly, will you?

Two quotes from an excellent, extensive review (*) give you a flavor of the reality that the younger man must embrace:


We know little, but that we must hold to what is difficult is a certainty that will not forsake us …that something is difficult must be a reason the more for us to do it.

acknowledge to yourself whether you would have to die if it were denied you to write. This above all–ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: must I write?


By his own account encouragements like this are what contributed to Ray Wylie Hubbard shaking loose mediocrity. And he is still going strong.

The music ended to roaring applause and a curtain call.

I’ll go see him again, for sure.

[*Note: Stop by this URL for the thoughtful review of the book and its timeless prescription for poets and writers:



You might ask, what does the image at the top of the page have to do with this article?

Well, I had no intention of writing anything about this event before I went. So I didn’t take notes, make any recording (officially banned anyway) or even take still pictures. I just sat back and got drawn into the performance.

The following day both Ernie and I were lazying amongst springs’ wild flowers. It was such a beautiful sunny afternoon I wrote most of the story in my head. You can see he was deep in thought too.

The clincher was that the Pooch assured me he liked it. You might call him a canine muse.

So why not use the picture?

And later I told him I thought he would eventually get that rabbit if only he was patient.


  • Each day that I operated my antique booth at the Big Red Barn, I passed the sign at Festival Hill advertising RWH…each day that I saw the date, I knew very well that I would have no energy to use on a late night performance. So, your essay was quite interested and I am more regretful that I could not attend.


  • Hi Dennis!

    Your story inspired me to share some Polish touch of blues.
    Here you are:
    A bit different stuff than Ray’s kicks, but maybe not so far away.
    When I was listening to the song on youtube (somehow, the first one I picked up), the following note drew my attention: “Breakout – Kamienie (IV 1974)”.
    I realized that the song was recored in April 1974 – so as I was born in…seriously, I was not aware of that.
    Here you are – not a bad translation of the song, I believe:



    • Rafal:
      Thank you.
      It is good to hear of your inspiration after reading about Ray Wylie Hubbard; the Polish music
      and translated lyrics you sent are excellent. Keep your thoughts coming.
      Continue to explore articles of past months.
      Most of the pieces I write are not based on a current event so they do not become stale or irrelevant.


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