Joe Ely started out as a rebel in Texas music and eventually became one of the Lone Star State's most respected elder statesmen of music, all without changing his outlook that much. Ely's music can run the gamut from introspective acoustic balladry to high-energy blues, rockabilly, and honky tonk swing; whatever he sings, the common thread is his gift for telling a story, making the lives of his characters seem real and relatable. He's also a veteran of the Texas singer/songwriters community, and was (along with Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock) a member of one of the scene's formative groups, the Flatlanders. Among the albums in a catalog that spans six decades, 1978's Honky Tonk Masquerade is among the best and most eclectic of his early hard country sessions, 1980's Live Shots (recorded while he was touring with the Clash) is ...
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