Stone magazine described him as "a raspy-voiced
West Texas mystic with an equal affinity for
romantic border balladry and Zen paradox."
Along with Lubbock bred childhood pals Joe
Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock
has been active in their group work as The
Flatlanders. They have appeared on Letterman
and Imus in the Morning. He is a member of
the Buddy Holly Walk of Fame and the Texas
Music Hall of Fame.
and Own, released in '91, contains his "If
I Were a Bluebird" made popular by Emmylou
Harris. His songs have also been recorded
by Willie Nelson and Jerry Jeff Walker. He
and buddies Ely and Gilmore have also all
recorded each other songs and played on each
the Way Over Here is considered by some to
be his best album. It is a collection and
showcase of some of his best songs. Like many
other musicians in Austin in the 70s and 80s,
Hancock acknowledges Townes Van Zandt as an
influence on his work.
is not the only hat Butch Hancock wears. He
has a degree in architecture, and is active
in leading rafting and adventure tours in
Big Bend that feature nightly concerts.
Hancock's self-produced "War and Peace",
his first solo CD in almost 9 years, meets
face to face with the mountains of lies that
appear to be rising higher and higher all
around us and all inside us, and reminds us:
the times they are STILL a'changin'.
the riveting acapella opener, a call-for-peace/prayer/warning/urge-to-compassion,
to the final cut, a 7-minute plus get-out-the-vote
anthem which would set Woody Guthrie, Willie
Dixon and Mississippi John Hurt dancing proudly
in their graves, Hancock, the impeccable lyricist,
pulls no metaphorical punches as he questions
all kinds of authority: overt, covert, exterior,
interior, imagined, and unimagined.
voice, still warm and scratchy after all these
years, blends with his own harmonies and those
of his long time running buddies, Fellow Flatlanders
Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, who join
Butch with harmonies on "The Master Game"
and "Cast the Devils Out". Butch's
new melodies are as memorable as the Guthrie-ish
"borrowings" of melodies on "Cast
the Devils Out" and "Great Election
Day", and on "Toast" he echoes
the dreamlike would-be spiritual perceptions
we could all lay claim to on any given late-night
drinking occasion. What's more, it's done
to the accompaniment of old timey banjo and
cathedral organ! Of the relentlessly rocking
"Old Man, Old Man," Austin guitarist
Charlie Sexton was heard to exclaim, "Man,
that's so 60's ...it's like ...The Doors!
I love it!" Billy Joe Shaver's favorite
is "When the Good and the Bad Get Ugly,"
and Butch dedicates "Road Map for the
Blues" to the late Clifford Antone who
made him play it repeatedly in the backstage
of Antone's blues club in Austin.
Butch plays over a dozen instruments on this
finely mixed cd (mixed by the amazing Chet
Himes). And though he claims that the only
other picker (Flatlander guitarist Rob Gjersoe)
"adds the real touch of class" to
the arrangements, a single listening to these
songs reveals surprises and a continuity that...calls
for many repeats!!!