with Drew Kennedy
Event SummarySEATED SHOW BUT SEATING NOT GUARANTEED WITHOUT RESERVED BOOTH. -- BOOTHS DO NOT INCLUDE ADMISSION.--
Country-rock singer/songwriter/guitarist Joe Ely was born Earle R. Ely on February 9, 1947, in Amarillo, TX. His family had worked for the Rock Island Line railroad dating back to the start of the century. When he was 12, the family moved to Lubbock, TX, where his father ran a used clothing store. Inspired by seeing Jerry Lee Lewis perform when he was a child, Ely aspired to a musical career, and he briefly took violin and steel guitar lessons before turning to the guitar. His father died when he was 14, and his mother was institutionalized for a year due to the trauma, so he and his brother were forced to stay with relatives in other cities. When the family came back together in Lubbock, he took a job washing dishes to bring in some money.
He also dropped out of school and began playing music professionally in local clubs, forming a band called the Twilights that became successful enough for him to quit being a dishwasher. Soon after, however, he became sufficiently restless to begin traveling, at first to other cities in Texas, then California, and later New York, with even a trip to Europe working for a theatrical company. This peripatetic period in his life lasted a full seven years, from 1963 to 1970. In the summer of 1971, back in Lubbock, he teamed up with a couple of singer/songwriter friends with whom he was living, Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, along with some other musicians, to form the Flatlanders, a country-folk group. They attracted interest from the small Nashville record label Plantation Records and in March 1972 went to Nashville and cut an album that Plantation barely released, credited to Jimmie Dale & the Flatlanders. (The album is reputed to have been issued only as an eight-track tape.)