From Texas Standard:
The argument could be made that what Larry McMurtry is to Texas letters, Joe Ely is to Texas music.
The characters that live in his songs run the gambit from lowlifes to the larger-than-life. Over the years, Ely has worked with the Clash to Linda Ronstadt to Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Tweedy, Lyle Lovett – truth be known, countless others.
After some 45 years in the business, the influential singer-songwriter is releasing an ode to his roots titled Panhandle Rambler.
Born in Amarillo and raised in Lubbock, Ely is one of those panhandle ramblers. When Ely train-hopped as a teenager, he didn’t appreciate his roots in the panhandle until he had left.
“Every time I’d start a new record I’d always come back to the flatlands,” he says. “It was like a starting place for me for some reason, I guess because of the emptiness. It made me want to fill it up.”