Texas Legislature Names Joe Ely Texas State Musician for 2016
AUSTIN, TEXAS (May 7, 2015) — In proceedings held Thursday at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Americana Music Legend Joe Ely was formally appointed the Official Texas State Musician for 2016. The iconic artist is being recognized for his exceptional and outstanding commitment to the arts in Texas.
“I’m humbled to be recognized in this manner by the state of my birth,” said Ely, a native Texan born in Amarillo, raised in Lubbock and currently living on his ranch just outside of Austin. “As a songwriter, I’ve always felt extremely fortunate to have grown up in such an inspirational place with its rich, compelling history and is filled with some of the most fascinating characters in the world.”
A true pioneer of the Alt-country sound, Ely’s boundary-blurring blend of rock, country, blues and folk might most accurately be described as “Texas Roadhouse.”
“Since I first saw Joe Ely perform on Austin City Limits on my local PBS station in Pasadena Texas, I felt like he embodied the Texas spirit of Independent musical integrity. He's managed to keep it all these years and that ain't easy,” said Dale Watson, a 2007 honoree. “I'm constantly amazed and appreciative of Joe Ely’s talent. He's a perfect ambassador to represent our state.”
“I couldn’t be happier for Joe,” echoed Billy Joe Shaver, a 2006 recipient. “He’s always been one of my heroes and one of the great ones... plus, he plays his a** off!”
Candidates for the honor are nominated by the general public after which a committee, composed of members appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, make the final selections.
Both Watson and Shaver were among the countless citizens who submitted nominations for Ely. In addition to those two, Ely joins an elite list of musicians as Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson and Billy Gibbons to be honored.
Ely’s musical roots were established as a boy growing up on the vast and empty plains of West Texas. His legend was forged onstage, with relentlessly riveting live performances, hammered out over thousands of shows and countless touring miles from Lubbock to London and back again the long way around.
Ely is embraced as a kindred spirit by artists as diverse as Bruce Springsteen, Linda Ronstadt and the Clash. Over his four-decade career, he’s been at the forefront of Outlaw Country, Alt-Country, and Texas Country and has been recognized as one of the best songwriters of his generation.
Ely has garnered well-deserved accolades including a GRAMMY Award, a CMA Award, and the Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance. In addition to his groundbreaking work as a solo artist, he is also widely known for his musical partnership with country’s first super group, The Flatlanders, with fellow Texas troubadours Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock.