Joe Ely: Veteran Country Caretaker A genre-crossing songwriter who has toured the world in four different decades, the Texan showed off his country chops while covering The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers in the town where they made their first records.

Joe Ely: Veteran Country Caretaker

Listen Now: Joe Ely On Mountain Stage

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Set List

  • "Silver City"
  • "All That You Need"
  • "Hello Stranger"
  • "Waiting On A Train"
  • "Up On The Ridge"

Joe Ely continues to work with The Flatlanders, a legendary roots-rock band that's reunited on and off since the rediscovery of its debut recordings. Brian Blauser hide caption

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Brian Blauser

A man of varied experiences both in and out of the music business, Joe Ely has toured the world in four different decades. In concert, the genre-crossing Texan is a frequent guest on Austin City Limits, and has shared stages with The Clash, Townes Van Zandt, Chuck Berry, and Paul McCartney. Off stage, Ely has released 12 CDs of spoken-word journal entries, written novels, and once even worked as a caretaker for horses in a traveling circus.

Along with Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock, Ely formed the long-overlooked country band The Flatlanders in the early '70s. The group's debut was reissued in 1991 and became an alt-country classic, though The Flatlanders didn't tour the U.S. until 2000.

Ely first familiarized himself with Bristol, Tenn./Va. — the "Birthplace of Country Music" — on his trip to play Mountain Stage in August 2007. He walked the town streets, deciding on the day of the show that he and accordion player Joel Guzman would perform songs by The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers as a way of paying tribute to their historic first recordings, made in Bristol in 1927.

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