Joe Ely's long been known as one of Texas' finest songwriters, and as the popular figurehead of the Lubbock Mob -- that tightknit coalition of Lubbock expatriates that includes Jo Carol Pierce, Butch Hancock, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Jo Harvey Allen and husband Terry. And Terry Allen is a highly respected songwriter in those same circles (he also contributed music to David Byrne's True Stories), though he's probably best known in the public eye for his visual art pursuits, including recent public sculptures in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Precisely what sort of musical evening Ely and Allen will concoct this Saturday night remains to be seen, but if it draws at all on recent collaborations, it ought to be something pretty special.
Their recent collaboration of most note is Chippy, an inspired bit of West Texas musical theater based on the true-life diaries of one Chippy, a depression-era hooker who hitchhiked the Texas Panhandle on her back. Lubbockites Ely, Hancock, Pierce and the Allens, and fellow Texans Robert Earl Keen and Wayne "The Train" Hancock pitched in their collective wordsmithery and performance skills to perform the musical this past July as part of the Lincoln Center's Serious Fun series, and Ely and Allen co-produced the CD Songs From Chippy, also released in July by Hollywood Records.
The play itself received glowing reviews (an Austin production reportedly is in the works), and the album is an absolute gem, with some of the state's best tunesmiths bringing their own personal histories to a fully imagined recreation of Chippy's rough-and-tumble life.
Given the not unbusy nature of the collaborators' solo projects, there's little likelihood of seeing a Houston production of Chippy anytime soon, but it's a fair bet that Allen and Ely will offer a more-than-decent sampling. The evening begins with an $8 barbecue on the back patio at 7:30 p.m. In related events, Allen is presenting two exhibits of his visual work, at UH's Blaffer Gallery and the Moody Gallery.
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Joe Ely and Terry Allen perform separate sets at 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. at the Fabulous Satellite Lounge, Saturday, August 27. Tickets cost $12. Call 869-COOL for info.
*Brave Combo at the Satellite, Friday, August 26
*Alejandro Escovedo at McGonigel's Mucky Duck, Friday, August 26
*Dropkick Chihuahuas at Rudyard's, Saturday, August 27
*Ed Hall at Harvey's, Saturday, August 27
*Tony Bennett at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, Sunday, August 28