Slingin’ Rhythm by Wayne Hancock on Bloodshot Records

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan

Well hot damn! How I missed this one before now is beyond me. I feel a bit embarrassed but I will make up for it now. Wayne Hancock is as real a cowboy as there is. He comes from Austin, Texas and he sings with such conviction that he moves the heck out of ya. I feel like I am listening to Hank Williams from the 50s, but no. This is Wayne Hancock! His songs are simplistic, yet extremely well written and profound. He delivers them in that incredible honky tonk style that we all love. 

Honesty is definitely the operative word when listening to Wayne. There are no fancy fifty-cent words, just pure candor and emotion. Take Track 2, Dirty House Blues, which is a number about being a bachelor. Although there is nothing complex about it, what makes it beautiful and profound is its simplicity. Just lays it right out there. The dirty house is really a metaphor for being alone. Hancock’s delivery is impeccable. THIS IS COUNTRY MUSIC, FOLKS!

Hancock, who is 51 years old, released his first album in 1995 and has been touring and performing ever since. The comparison to Hank Williams III has been made and Hank III has recorded some of Hancock’s material. What is crystal clear is that both pay their respects to the original, Hank Williams. 

Some of the songs can be deceiving. For instance, Killed Them Both (Track 3) is such a lovely sounding honky tonk number. However, it is about a man who kills his wife/girlfriend and her lover. He caught them in bed together and gunned them both down. If you just hear the music, you would think this is a happy go lucky song. Au contraire, this song is dark as can be and the irony in the music makes it that much more poignant. 

I have mentioned before my penchant for songs about wandering or drifting. Well, Slingin’ Rhythm (Track 1) is a wonderful song about being a “truebadour” and spending all of his time on the road. That is the life he chose, or the life that chose him. This song is pure honky tonk goodness and I could listen to this track for hours.

Please don’t make the same I did. Do not pass up on this gem. This is good, timeless music that needs to be heard and felt. Check it out immediately.

Listen to Slingin’ Rhythm on Spotify

Buy Slingin’ Rhythm on Bloodshot

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