When your most famous song is titled “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother,” it’s fair to say you’ve carved out an against-the-grain career. And at age 68, Ray Wylie Hubbard is still kicking up dust — the Texas singer-songwriter announced a new album today. Titled The Ruffian’s Misfortune, the record will be released on April 7th.
“The blackbird in the first song says, ‘The gods can’t save us from ourselves,’ and the high slurred whistle of the redwing blackbird in the last song sounds likes he’s singing, ‘That I might die,'” the typically irreverent Hubbard tells Rolling Stone Country. “Between them are some other songs bout other things.”
Among them is a boisterous track titled “Chick Singer, Badass Rockin'” that name-checks Joan Jett and Chrissie Hynde. Hubbard says the song was borne of his admiration for free-spirited female rockers. “I was inspired by the wild young fems who care less about pop music, who bleed rock and know how to play an E chord without the third,” he says. The lyrics also call out Nashville country as “pissant.” (Listen to a premiere of the track below.)
Hubbard, an Oklahoma native, gained notoriety when Jerry Jeff Walker cut “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother” on his 1973 live album Viva Terlingua, introducing the shit-kicker with a matter-of-fact “This song is by Ray Wylie Hubbard.” Hubbard went on to become a touring road warrior and influential artist on the “progressive country” scene. He’s also made inroads in Nashville, writing with the likes of Ronnie Dunn of the recently reunited Brooks & Dunn. Sammy Hagar recorded the pair’s composition “Bad on Fords and Chevrolets,” which also appears on The Ruffian’s Misfortune, for his 2013 Sammy Hagar & Friends album. Hubbard will release his autobiography, A Life…Well, Lived, later this year.