"Ride" ( Bloodshot)
Much was made of Wayne's significance when first he broke into national consciousness with 1995's "Thunderstorms and Neon Signs;" "Wayne the Train," as he quickly was hailed, was a vital, prison farm-workshirted personification of bouyant juke joint swing. His battered and furiously downstroked acoustic, rough hewn, everyman drawl, and the mischevious, toothy, sideways grin he flashed as slap bass walked the line, electric lead-picking stung, and steel caromed off jump-bop rhythms earned broad renown.
Great things, then, were expected of the starkly rustic raconteur in whose twangy voice seemed to lurk the limber-limbed ghosts of every time-lost honky tonk under the risen bad moon.
Yesterday's promise is today's solid certainty. The Texas rockabilly scramble that has always figured in Wayne's music looms still, and is appropriately a-smolder. Rip-rollicking big band jollity breathes, too. When Wayne slips into swaybacked, mid-tempo country blues he evokes Hank Williams, Sr - a genuine touchstone for all who would tread this unadorned path. And he even relaxes still further now and again, delivering tuneful plaints of universal melacholia.
"Ride's" eminent bounties are maintained in lucid relief by the wise co-production of the star and his longtime collaborator Lloyd Maines, himself an iconic figure of rich repute.
"Man, I'm like a stab wound in the country music of Nashville," the paradoxically rebellious traditionalist once laughed. "See that bloodstain slowly spreading? That's me!"
Truly, Wayne Hancock is that rare Americana treasure that shines brilliantly when so many surrounding are dullish and unremarkable.
Recommended "Ride," "Cappuccino Boogie," "Deal Gone Down," "Best To Be Alone," "Get the Blues Low Down," "Lone Road Home"