Auto Tune: “Lord of the Highway” by Joe Ely

May 27th, 2015 at 3:00pm

Driving, riding, roads and of course cars themselves have all been immortalized by writers, composers and musicians around the world. Auto Tune is our way to spotlight a unique transportation song to celebrate these “ridden” gems along with the artists or composers who crafted them. Some you may know, many we’re sure you don’t.

Joe_Ely_Lord_of_the_HighwayJoe Ely is a legend in Texas. If you’re not aware of the name, wander down to Houston, Dallas or hang out at Waterloo Records in Austin and you’ll soon discover he is one of the foundations in Texas music.

A rock and roll guy from way back, early in his career Ely joined forces with fellow Texans Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock, both who favor country and folk genres, and formed The Flatlanders in 1970. The group has only released a handful of albums over their 45 years together, but that hasn’t stopped the trio from playing and influencing each other’s solo efforts.

And Joe Ely’s records don’t stray far from his Texas roots. With songs like “Me & Billy the Kid” and “She Never Spoke Spanish To Me” to name a few, you can see the Lone Star influence in his music which leads us to this week’s Auto Tune.

Lord of the Highway” wasn’t actually written by Joe Ely but rather by his Flatlander brother-in-arms Butch Hancock. But he chose the song as the title cut for his 7th solo record in 1987 and certainly made it all his own.

And for any of you Auto Tuners out there, how could there be a better opening line to a song than:

With your fan belt slippin’ and your bare tires squealin’
Every time you hit the road you think you’re rich.

Mix lyrics like that with some terrific guitar riffs and you’ve got not only the ultimate road song and a top notch Auto Tune as well. So if you like this small sampling of Joe Ely’s work he’s got some 20 albums of similar material that you may want to investigate. But when it comes to a pure Auto Tune, you can’t do better than “Lord of the Highway.”

- Chip Drake, Executive Producer, Autoline

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