Ray Wylie Hubbard, (mostly) God-fearing Okie kid turned ne’er-do-well Cosmic Cowboy turned Zen role model for two
generations of Texas singer-songwriters, has led the kind of white-knuckle, seat-of-the-pants charmed life that, laid end to end, seems like it should add up to a lot more than 70 years. (Required reading: His 2015 memoir/lyric file A Life... Well, Lived.) For fans of a certain type of music in a certain part of the world, namely this one, Hubbard’s albums — which he is kind enough to gift us every year or two, the latest being last year’s The Ruffian's Misfortune— yield nearly as many entrée-rich word banquets, wayward yet (mostly) well-meaning characters and subtly disguised morals as the collected works of ol’ Billy Shakespeare himself. That Hubbard’s 70th birthday party aligns with the very first show at the restored Heights Theater augurs nothing but good things for the historic movie house, and might even be cause for an extra chorus of “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother” or “Screw You, We’re From Texas” or two.