Joe Ely Mailing Address, Email, Fan Mail, House Address, Contact Number, Agent, Manager, Mailing address, Contact Info
Joe Ely began his career as a musical outlaw in Texas and has since evolved into one of the state’s most revered elder statesmen, all while maintaining his original vision. Ely’s music ranges from contemplative acoustic balladry to high-octane blues, rockabilly, and honky tonk swing; whatever he sings, his ability for storytelling shines through, making his characters’ lives appear real and accessible. He’s also a veteran of the Texas singer/songwriter scene, having been a member of one of the scene’s founding bands, the Flatlanders, alongside Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock.
He is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Since the turn of the century, his family has worked for the Rock Island Line railroad. His family relocated to Lubbock, Texas, when he was 12 years old, where his father managed a used clothing store. Ely desired to be a musician after witnessing Jerry Lee Lewis perform as a child, and he took violin and steel guitar lessons before settling on the guitar. He and his brother were forced to stay with relatives in neighbouring places after his father died when he was 14 and his mother was institutionalised for a year due to the trauma. When the family reunited in Lubbock, he found a job washing dishes to supplement his income.
He also dropped out of school to pursue a career as a professional musician in local clubs, creating the Twilights, a band that was popular enough for him to quit his job as a dishwasher. Soon after, he felt restless enough to begin travelling, first to other places in Texas, then California, and then New York, with a trip to Europe working for a theatre company thrown in for good measure. From 1963 to 1970, he had a seven-year peripatetic period in his life.
Back in Lubbock in the summer of 1971, he formed the Flatlanders, a country-folk band, with a pair of singer/songwriter friends with whom he was staying, Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, as well as several other musicians. They piqued the interest of Plantation Records, a minor Nashville company, and proceeded to Nashville in March 1972 to record an album credited to Jimmie Dale & the Flatlanders, which Plantation barely issued.
Ely on acoustic guitar and vocals, Jesse Taylor on electric guitar, Lloyd Maines on steel guitar, Gregg Wright on bass, and Steve Keeton on drums comprised the Joe Ely Band. Members of Jerry Jeff Walker’s backup band delivered a demo tape to Walker, who gave it to Walker, who gave it to an A&R representative at Walker’s label, MCA Records, and Ely was signed to MCA in the fall of 1975.
Ely released his second album, Honky Tonk Masquerade, on February 13, 1978, more than a year later. (Accordionist Ponty Bone had joined the support band by this stage.) The album featured a mix of Ely originals, such as the title track, “Fingernails” (a Jerry Lee Lewis-styled rocker with piano by Shane Keister), and “Cornbread Moon” (all of which were singles), as well as Hancock and Gilmore songs (the latter’s “Tonight I Think I’m Gonna Go Downtown,” co-written with John X. Reed, had appeared on the Flatlanders’ album). A cover of Hank Williams’ “Honky Tonkin'” was also performed.
Honky Tonk Masquerade was well-received critically upon release (and was called one of the essential albums of the 1970s in a 1990 Rolling Stone article), but it failed to sell. Down on the Drag, released in February 1979, brought Ely back into the record stores a year later. Four more Hancock tunes were added to the mix, as well as five Ely originals. The album debuted at number one on the Cash Box country chart.
In the late 1970s, Ely and his band travelled extensively, headlining small venues and opening for larger performers. Surprisingly, the Clash, a British punk rock band, was among them. However, the band befriended Ely and asked him to open performances for them in the United Kingdom. This increased his international fan base and exposed him to rock audiences.
Taking advantage of the hype, MCA’s British division recorded an Ely live album during the tour, and Live Shots, credited to the Joe Ely Band, was released exclusively in the United Kingdom in the spring of 1980. (By this time, Ely’s drummer, Robert Marquam, had replaced Steve Keeton.) Meanwhile, Charly Records, a British reissue label, licenced the Flatlanders’ songs and released them on a collection called One Road More, which became their first widely disseminated release.
Personal Profile Joe Ely
- Name: Joe Ely
- Date of Birth: 9 February 1947 (age 74 years)
- Age: 74
- Birth Sign:
- Siblings: NA
- Birth Place/City: Amarillo, Texas, United States
- Profession: Singer
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