Upon first getting to the Ale House last evening, with the bar partially filled and the back room only slightly more so, I wasn’t certain what sort of crowd Ray Wylie Hubbard would be performing to in a couple hours. But before too much later, it became clear that although his catalog may be somewhat under appreciated (primarily by this writer at his own peril), that was not a commonly held sentiment by the crowd that eventually filled the backroom, hootin’ and hollerin’ and defying the fact that it was sweaty, pungent AND a “school night”! Ray seemed to quickly surmise that he was amongst friends and fellow travelers and settled in to a nice groove, which combined great songwriting, picking, and anecdotal humor. The setlist included selections from many of Ray’s albums, including his latest Grifter’s Hymnal from which he featured, “Count My Blessings” and “Mother Blues”. He name-checked numerous fellow Lone Star troubadours, including Hayes Carll, playing “Drunken Poet’s Dream” which they’ve both recorded. Sadly I had to exit prior to the conclusion of Ray’s set, so I’m sure I missed a few other gems. I did want to mention that the opening act was a wispy lad, with a smoky baritone by the name of Dustin Welch. None other than the son of Kevin Welch, Dustin played both banjo and guitar and featured several tunes from his two releases, Whiskey Priest and Tijuana Bible, many of which were full of promise. The ride home was a riot of lightning, thunder and fat drops of rain, a bit like a trip over the Purgatory Road.