Wayne Hancock looks and sounds like he wears a throw-back jersey with a GPS in the pocket. That's how in touch he is with the tradition of yesteryear and the vibe of today. He can tell what it feels like to get sweat and dirt in your eye at the same time. Feeling overwhelmed with life? Hancock's got just the thing for that. Call it caring the country & western sort of way. To get yourself on the road to recovery grab your wig-hat and find a live set of Hancock’s signature hillbilly jazz sound; then pick out a spot on the adjacent dance floor. Now you've got it. Let it move you by the soul. “Dancing is the best expression to release that bad energy,” Hancock said. Just what the folks have been grooving to, in particular, for the past 17 years is Hancock’s version of Texas dance hall and jump blues. “Whether it was the hand clapping or what, the originals played jump blues so people could dance,” Hancock said on his way to a sold out gig Urbana, IL. “I like it upbeat. If you can swing your blues then you’re there.” Ever the humanitarian Hancock has everybody's interest in mind but his own. “When people leave my shows I want them to feel like they got a leg up on some of their worst times.” Wayne Hancock, appearing at the Tip Top on Oct 9, presents a roots music experience as it was first intended. He cites Bob Wills as a contributor of some of the best blues he’s heard. “He conveyed the down side of how he was feeling,” Hancock said. “But he put a swing to his music that made it seem like that no matter how bad things got, you still had the upper hand.” He writes the lyrics of a laborer but delivers with a vocal style that's more uppity big city. Hancock admits to an affinity for vocalists like Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra. He has a penchant for gems from the American song book. Thus he records a version of “Midnight, the Stars, and You” (Ray Noble) on his disc Viper of Melody (2009). “My parents were born in the 1920s," Hancock said. "I grew up listening to “Stardust” and Hoagy Carmichael. No matter what they had on the radio I never was happy with it.” He says he thinks the blues ain’t nothing you need to be afraid of. “Blues are expressions of life,” Hancock said. “They’re like feeling good and having sex. It’s just another emotion.” The hillbilly portion of hillbilly jazz is all Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams, perhaps Hancock's most handy comparison. Hancock is putting out new disc in early 2013 called Ride. Songs topics are expected to include a new found love of riding motorcycles and the ever trusty murder ballad. Hancock recently hired a manager after many years without one. He is reported to be very pleased so far with a new booking agency. If things are looking up for Wayne The Train then the rest of us might have a chance. “I’ve gone through some changes in the past two years,” Hancock said. “But now I feel like I’ve got my yodel back.”
Wayne "The Train" Hancock wsg The True Falsettos at the Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill tonight. Show at 8 pm.
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