Story Behind the Song: Ray Wylie Hubbard, ‘The Messenger’
The final track on Ray Wylie Hubbard's duets album, Co-Starring, is "The Messenger," a song that the singer has been performing for a long time. The original, non-duet version of the track appears on his 1994 album, Loco Gringo's Lament.
Over the course of Hubbard's long, storied career, "The Messenger" has stuck with him: It's a song that he keeps returning to, and on Co-Starring, he adds a gorgeous new element to the track thanks to vocal harmonies from Ronnie Dunn.
Having Dunn sing the song with him made the performance especially poignant, but "The Messenger" has been special to Hubbard ever since he wrote it. Read on to learn why, as told by the singer-songwriter himself.
I've been doing that song for a long time. I put it on other records. But then to have Ronnie Dunn do that harmony with me, I mean, that was just kind of a given.
It was the first song that I wrote after I got clean and sober, like, 30-something years ago. It's just always been there.
That line, "Our fears are like dragons / Guarding our most precious treasures ..." -- [it's saying] that, if we can remove our fear, there are these treasures. People that are afraid of flying, well, if they can get over that fear, then they can go to Hawaii. Or someone who's afraid of public speaking, well, if they can get over that fear, then they can become great speakers.
That idea has just always been there. I've always kind of carried it around with me. You know, it's a very precious song to me.