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‘Out of my comfort zone’: Ray Wylie Hubbard’s 18th album is a diversion from what he’s known for

Legendary songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard is one of the nearly dozen performers at Michael Martin Murphey's American Westfest in Red River. (Courtesy of Red 11 Music)

Legendary songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard is one of the nearly dozen performers at Michael Martin Murphey’s American Westfest in Red River. (Courtesy of Red 11 Music)

Ray Wylie Hubbard isn’t one to sit around and wait.

That’s why he’s had a career that’s lasted more than 50 years.

“I’m actually going into the studio and finishing up my new record,” he says during a recent interview. “I’m going back into the studio to do the mixing and getting everything where it sounds cool and funky.”

Hubbard has been a staple in music since 1965.

He’s no stranger to New Mexico as he often performs in the state about three times a year.

Not to mention that he would live in Red River during the summers while in college. He often performed with the trio Three Faces West.

Hubbard is making a return to the northern New Mexico town to take part in Michael Martin Murphey’s American Westfest, which runs through Saturday, July 13.

Hubbard and Murphey also have a long history of friendship.

“I went to high school with Michael and he was so inspirational to me,” he says. “He was the first guy who went and performed at an assembly, and he turned me onto that folk world. He is so powerful as a songwriter and a performer. He’s had a huge influence on me.”

Hubbard often returns to Red River to spend some time with Murphey and the other performers participating in American Westfest.

Over the course of his career, the 72-year-old musician has found success along various avenues in music.

His upcoming 18th album also features a little bit of a diversion from the genre of music he’s known for.

In fact, Hubbard reached out to musicians to collaborate on an album.

He’s managed to get the green light from The Cadillac Three, Jesse Dayton, Pam Tillis, Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown, The Blue Bonnets and Kathy Valentine from The Go-Gos.

“All these musicians are monsters because they are powerful in what they do,” he says. “I feel very fortunate to run into them and have them join me on a song. I wanted the album to run the spectrum. It’s been a great learning experience for me because it pushes me out of my comfort zone. I’m humbled that each one of them wanted to work with me and said yes.”

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