Review by Fred Rudofsky
An electrified banshee was brewing outside the Ale House, but inside the Troy venue a standing-room-only crowd soaked up the dry-witted extemporizing, eclectic stories and brilliant songs of sin and redemption by Ray Wylie Hubbard on a Tuesday night. It was a helluva good time.
Hubbard’s last visit to the Capital Region was in 2012 at The Linda, and evidently he had made a strong impression because many in attendance were chatting about various song titles even before he began his set. Donning an acoustic guitar and backed by Kyle Snyder on a minimal drum kit and assorted percussion instruments, Hubbard sang in a voice that betrayed his formerly wild ways and affirmed his two decades of sobriety and prodigious creativity. “Rabbit” and “Snake Farm” provided a fine one-two combo: the former was a rumination on hunting; and the latter, a crock-pot cooker-styled blues about a free-spirited woman named Ramona who works at a reptile house, had the crowd singing the chorus (“Snake Farm, it just sounds nasty/ Snake Farm, it pretty much is”) to Hubbard’s delight from the get-go.