He's been called a living legend of the roadhouse-rocker set, and most recently, Joe Ely was inducted into the Lone Star Music Hall of Fame during the Sixth Annual Lone Star Music Awards at the Marc in San Marcos, Texas.
According to a May 5 correspondence from Ely's PR camp, following induction remarks from fellow Texas-music hero (and 2013 LSM Hall of Fame inductee) Robert Earl Keen, Ely fronted Reckless Kelly in the The Joe Ely/Reckless Kelly Band, or The JERK Band, to bring down the house with his signature tunes “Dallas,” “Streets of Sin” and an extended version of “Cool Rockin’ Loretta.”
"As proud as we are to induct Joe Ely into our Lone Star Music Hall of Fame, most of all we were honored by his acceptance of our invitation and by the gift of his unforgettable performance,” said Richard Skanse, editor of LoneStarMusic Magazine.
Moreover, Skanse continued, “Joe Ely really doesn’t need recognition by any hall of fame or awards show to prove his standing as one of the true giants in all Texas and Americana music; all he needs to get the job done is a stage, a mic and his own guitar. (During the awards), though, he just happened to have a little help from his friends in Reckless Kelly--not to mention some gal called ‘Loretta’ who always seals the deal."
As for Ely's music career, he's devoted at least three decades to touring the world and sharing the stage with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, the Clash and Tom Petty. And, per his PR rep, "his music today is still informed by the arid, wide-open sensibilities of his West Texas origins. In all of Ely’s songs, like a riptide rolling beneath the melody, lies a sense of turbulence—wind, thunderstorms and tornadoes figure prominently—a beckoning, distant horizon and an aching sense of restlessness."
Ely's timeless American themes, combined with his unpredictable Tex-Mex mixture of rock, country, blues, folk, zydeco and norteño, have propelled the Texas native to the top ranks of Lone Star lyricists. But an equal part of Ely’s formidable legacy rests on his incendiary live performances. Backed by a series of ensembles whose performances still evoke hushed whispers years and even decades later, Ely’s command of the stage has always been absolute.
Also inducted into the hall of fame during the April 27 event was songwriter Kent Finlay, owner of the Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos. In addition to performances from Ely and Reckless Kelly, the awards show featured performances from William Clark Green, Thieving Birds, Chris King, Slaid Cleaves, Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis, Zane Williams and Kylie Rae Harris.
- Video bonus: To see Ely perform "Hard Livin'" live at SXSW in Austin, simply access the video embedded with this post.