Album Review: Wayne Hancock — Ride
No matter what the calendar says, it’s always a Saturday night when you’re listening to Wayne “The Train” Hancock. Working once more with his longtime producer, Lloyd Maines, Hancock delivers a collection that’s made to be listened to from the vinyl-covered comfort of a barstool.
Ride includes more personal lyrics than Hancock’s previous records (since the release of 2009’s Viper of Melody, Hancock’s faced the breakup of his marriage as well as a stint in rehab, and tracks like “Best to Be Alone” and “Get the Blues Low Down” reflect that troubled time in his life), but musically, it’s full of the same juke joint swing he’s served up since 1995’s Thunderstorms and Neon Signs. It’s a well-worn path, but Hancock treads it like a pro, drawing on influences like Hank Williams, Bob Wills, and Big Bill Broonzy on eleven tracks ranging from classic country toetapper “Low Down Blues” to “Deal Gone Down,” a tale of adultery and murder set to delicious electric guitar. The slow, jazzy “Gal from Kitchen’s Field,” in which Hancock’s vocal is backed by Bob Stafford on trombone, sounds like it could have been pulled off an old 78, while “Cappuccino Boogie” is a shot of aural espresso.
A swinging cover of “Any Old Time,” featuring Eddie Rivers’ pedal steel, rounds out the record. Hancock’s voice cracks for the briefest instant mid-song, capturing the off-the-cuff feel of the album. Hancock may sound best singing in your local dive, but Ride is a fine substitute until he gets there.
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