The Recording Academy Texas Chapter recently played host for GRAMMYs On The Road at Utopiafest in the Texas Hill Country community of Utopia. GRAMMY.com conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists performing at the festival, including singer/songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard and genre-spanning jam band the Werks.
Hubbard discussed his musical style, the Texas music scene and his favorite touring stories, among other topics.
"I feel very fortunate to have been able to have seen Lightnin' Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb, Freddie King, Ernest Tubb, and Gary Stewart," said Hubbard. "The thing about Texas I think that's really unique is that you pretty much have to write some pretty damn good songs. There's kind of this level that's been set."
A fixture on the Texas music scene, Hubbard launched his solo career in 1975 with the release of Ray Wylie Hubbard & The Cowboy Twinkies. Hubbard signed with Willie Nelson's short-lived Lone Star records label for the release of 1978's Off The Wall, an album containing the politically minded "Red Neck Mother." Though Hubbard continued to play live, he did not release his next studio album until 1992's Lost Train Of Thought. His recent albums include Snake Farm (2006) and A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C) (2010). Released in March, The Grifter's Hymnal was co-produced by Hubbard and reached No. 15 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart.
The Werks discussed performing at Utopiafest, their latest self-titled album, touring, and their relationship with their fans, among other topics.
"[The album is] a mix between funk, rock and roll and electronic music," said drummer/vocalist Rob Chafin. "We're trying to create our own little genre of music."
Founded in 2005, the Werks are an Ohio-based quartet consisting of Chafin, Dino Dimitrouleas (bass/vocals), Norman Dimitrouleas (keyboards/vocals), and Chris Houser (guitar/vocals). The Werks' sound fuses elements of psychedelic rock, funk and electronica. The group's debut album, Dig It, was released in 2007, followed by 2009's Synapse. The Werks' latest album, The Werks, was released in April. The Werks hosted their own festival, the Werk Out Music & Arts Festival, in Thornville, Ohio, in September.