Treat Me Like a Saturday Night


Treat Me Like a Saturday Night: The Joe Ely Photographs from the Cindy Light Collection

On view in the David Earl Holt Gallery, July 30-October 27, 2019

Joe Ely plays Liberty Lunch in 1989.
Joe Ely plays Liberty Lunch in 1989, AR.2019.016(040)

Cindy Light is an Austin-based photographer who, over her more than thirty year career, shot many performances of Austin musicians such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Ely, and Doug Sahm as well as international acts such as Sting, Michael Jackson, and Paul McCartney. Her work has been featured in many national and international publications including The New Yorker, Chicago Tribune, Austin Chronicle, Austin American Statesman, and Rolling Stone.

Throughout her years as a working photographer, Cindy maintained a close professional relationship with several local Austin bands, especially the Joe Ely Band, photographing them regularly. Though he hails from Lubbock and remains part of a close group of Lubbock musicians, most notably Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore with whom he performs as The Flatlanders, Joe Ely has been a mainstay and icon of the Austin music scene since the late 1970s. His music spans genres, happily occupying a space somewhere between blues, Tejano, honky-tonk, and rock ‘n roll. 

The photos in this exhibit span 1986-1990 and primarily feature guitarist David Grissom, bassist Jimmy Pettit, and drummer Davis McLarty who represent Ely’s late 1980s – early 1990s heyday. Also onstage in several photos are guitarist Jesse “Guitar” Taylor, saxophonist Bobby Keys, steel guitar player Lloyd Maines, and Texas BBQ legend Christopher B. “Stubb” Stubblefield of Stubb’s BBQ fame, all native Lubbockians. Playing at bygone landmarks such as the Austin Opera House and Liberty Lunch, the photographs represent an era in Austin’s music history that is emblematic of the city’s reputation as a live music mecca.

Join us for the opening reception of the exhibit on July 30 from 6:30-8:30 pm. Visitors can see more of the photographs by visiting the Austin History Center. The entire collection is available for viewing any time during the Center’s open hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10-6 and Sunday 12-6. An inventory of the collection is available online.

Click on the thumbnails below to see some sample images from the exhibit. All photographs by Cindy Light.