As you may know from reading my blogs, my full-time gig is as sports editor of People Newspapers, which is a small chain of three weeklies owned by D Magazine. And since I love music so much, I occasionally get to write about it for our papers. Such was the case last week when I wrote a story about former Oak Cliff resident Ray Wylie Hubbard coming back to the Kessler for two shows to record a live album and DVD.
Hubbard will be playing at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday night.
Here’s my story that ran in last week’s edition of Oak Cliff People:
Since the Kessler Theater reopened its doors in 2010, Adamson alum Ray Wylie Hubbard has made the venue a regular tour stop.
Next week, Hubbard will also be making the Kessler the setting for the second live album of his lengthy career. Hubbard will play at 8 p.m. on Sept. 5 and 6. Both shows are sold out and will also be filmed for an accompanying live DVD.
“It’s a very nostalgic place for me because I used to go there as a kid,” Hubbard said. “Every time I’ve played there, it’s just been phenomenal sound, and lights, and audience. It just kind of seemed like everything else kind of fell by the wayside when it came time to record a live album and DVD there.”
The live album will be the first one for Hubbard since 2000’s Live at Cibolo Creek Country Club. Hubbard was very pleased with the way that album turned out, but he said recording another live album was long overdue.
“I can still listen to it,” Hubbard said. “It sounded great. We had a great crowd. I had a bunch of people ask for it [another live album]. We’ll be doing a bunch of the requested songs, but I’ve got a couple of new ones I want to do, too. I may change the set list up a little bit [the second night]. I kind of have a basic show, but I keep throwing stuff in.”
The DVD portion was something that came along after the live album had already been planned. Hubbard said Brent Carpenter, who does videos for Ringo Starr, persuaded him he needed to put one out. It helped that Carpenter was available to come to Texas and film the shows at the Kessler.
“The room itself has a good reputation for sound,” Kessler owner Edwin Cabaniss said. “That’s kind of the art part of it — the room is pretty solid. But really what we’ve really got is a sound engineer [Paul Quigg] who is a producer and has produced records for a long time. He has been a recording artist signed to a major label, so he brings that mentality and really understands from an artist’s standpoint what they need. He’s been on the stage and produced albums in a studio, so it’s natural, over the course of time, that the Kessler’s reputation has increased. Paul has a lot to do with that.”
Cabaniss said other artists have recorded live albums at the Kessler, but having Hubbard should be a little extra special. “We’re very excited he has chosen the Kessler to record a live album,” Cabaniss said. “It’s not something we actively pursue; it’s more the artist asking. We’re getting more and more people inquiring. Ray’s a good guy. He’s really turned into being a mentor for a lot of the up-and-coming acts. He’s a good person and a good soul.”
Hubbard said he has always enjoyed listening to live albums as a music fan. “It just kind of let you see how it goes down,” Hubbard said. “I like them a lot. Townes Van Zandt’s Live at the Old Quarter is kind of the definitive live album for me right there. That’s one I compare everything to because it’s such a great record. And of course Frampton Comes Alive and Cheap Trick at Budokan — those seemed to do pretty good.”
I’m going to Thursday’s show, so make sure to check back later this week for my thoughts. I’ve seen Hubbard twice, so I’m pretty sure it will be yet another amazing night of music.