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Joe Ely

Bonfire of Roadmaps

March 1, 2007 – April 2, 2007

The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin presents "Joe Ely: Bonfire of Roadmaps," an installation of Ely's verse, sketches and paintings drawn from his road journals.

Running from March 1 through April 2, the installation corresponds with the release of Ely's book "Bonfire of Roadmaps," published by University of Texas Press.

Since the age of 16, Ely has been traveling highways and roads across America and Europe while playing music. When on the road, Ely keeps a journal, penning verses he calls "snapshots of what was flying by, just out of reach, so to savor at a later date when the wheels stop rolling."

In "Bonfire of Roadmaps" Ely takes readers on the road with him. Using verse passages from his road journals and his own drawings seamlessly collaged and printed on large sheets of paper, Ely re-creates the swirling experience of a musician's life on tour. The "Joe Ely: Bonfire of Roadmaps" installation will run more than 50 linear feet.

"The road has always been at the center of Ely's creative universe," says Peter Mears, the Ransom Center's associate curator of art. "In this installation, he's offering us pearls from the journals of his well-traveled past through layers of original verse and colorful, floating images. The work imparts movement along with an overall sense of timelessness."

Ely's music combines rock, country, folk and Tex-Mex. In addition to his solo work, he is a member of the Flatlanders band and has performed with Bruce Springsteen, Los Super Seven, James McMurtry and the Clash.

Ely's albums include the Grammy Award-winning "Los Super Seven," "Letter to Laredo," "Heard It on the X," "Wheels of Fortune," "Streets of Sin," "Now Again," "Live at Antone's," "Honky Tonk Masquerade," "Live at Liberty Lunch" and "Love and Danger."