Texas Legislature Names Joe Ely
AUSTIN, TEXAS (May 7, 2015) — In proceedings held Thursday at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Americana Music Legend Joe Ely
was formally appointed the Official Texas State Musician for 2016. The
iconic artist is being recognized for his exceptional and outstanding
commitment to the arts in Texas.
humbled to be recognized in this manner by the state of my birth,” said
Ely, a native Texan born in Amarillo, raised in Lubbock and currently
living on his ranch just outside of Austin. “As a songwriter, I’ve
always felt extremely fortunate to have grown up in such an
inspirational place with its rich, compelling history and is filled with
some of the most fascinating characters in the world.”
A true pioneer of the Alt-country sound, Ely’s boundary-blurring blend
of rock, country, blues and folk might most accurately be described as
“Since I first saw Joe Ely perform on Austin City Limits on my local
PBS station in Pasadena Texas, I felt like he embodied the Texas spirit
of Independent musical integrity. He’s managed to keep it all these
years and that ain’t easy,” said Dale Watson, a 2007
honoree. “I’m constantly amazed and appreciative of Joe Ely’s talent.
He’s a perfect ambassador to represent our state.”
“I couldn’t be happier for Joe,” echoed Billy Joe Shaver, a 2006 recipient. “He’s always been one of my heroes and one of the great ones… plus, he plays his a** off!”
Candidates for the honor are nominated by the general public after
which a committee, composed of members appointed by the governor,
lieutenant governor and speaker of the Texas House of Representatives,
make the final selections.
Watson and Shaver were among the countless citizens who submitted
nominations for Ely. In addition to those two, Ely joins an elite list
of musicians as Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson and Billy Gibbons to be honored.
Ely’s musical roots were established as a boy growing up on the vast
and empty plains of West Texas. His legend was forged onstage, with
relentlessly riveting live performances, hammered out over thousands of
shows and countless touring miles from Lubbock to London and back again
the long way around.
Ely is embraced as a kindred spirit by artists as diverse as Bruce
Springsteen, Linda Ronstadt and the Clash. Over his four-decade career,
he’s been at the forefront of Outlaw Country, Alt-Country, and Texas
Country and has been recognized as one of the best songwriters of his
Ely has garnered well-deserved accolades including a GRAMMY Award, a
CMA Award, and the Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement
Award for Performance. In addition to his groundbreaking work as a solo
artist, he is also widely known for his musical partnership with
country’s first super group, The Flatlanders, with fellow Texas
troubadours Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock.