Butch Hancock

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Butch Hancock

Butch hancock 2011.jpg

Butch Hancock performing at the 2011 Texas Book Festival.
Background information
Born (1945-07-12) July 12, 1945 (age 72)
Lubbock, Texas, United States
Origin Lubbock, Texas
Genres Country, Folk
Occupation(s) Musician
Years active 1972–present
Associated acts The Flatlanders
Joe Ely
Jimmie Dale Gilmore

Butch Hancock (born July 12, 1945 in Lubbock, Texas), is a country/folk music recording artist and songwriter. Hancock is a member of The Flatlanders along with Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, but he has principally performed solo.

Lubbock, Texas City in Texas, United States

Lubbock is the 11th most-populous city in the U.S. state of Texas and the county seat of Lubbock County. With a population of 256,042 in 2015, the city is also the 83rd most-populous in the United States. The city is located in northwestern part of the state, a region known historically and geographically as the Llano Estacado and ecologically is part of the southern end of the High Plains, lying at the economic center of the Lubbock metropolitan area, which has a projected 2020 population of 327,424.

Country music, also known as country and western, and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as folk music and blues.

Folk music musical and poetic creativity of the people

Folk music includes traditional folk music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be called world music. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted orally, music with unknown composers, or music performed by custom over a long period of time. It has been contrasted with commercial and classical styles. The term originated in the 19th century, but folk music extends beyond that.


Background and career

Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in Hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on Earth and you should save it for someone you love.
  -- Butch Hancock [1]

Hancock entered architecture school but dropped out in 1968 and worked for nearly a year driving a tractor on his father's farm in Lubbock, Texas. He recalls that the experience of elemental simplicity and reading books opened up the metaphysical universe for him. [2]

In 1972, he formed The Flatlanders together with his old high school friends. Although critics were positive, the enterprise was not successful and they disbanded the following year. Hancock continued to write songs and in 1978 he founded a recording company, Rainlight Records and released his first solo album, West Texas Waltzes and Dust-Blown Tractor Tunes. He continued to bring out albums with folk tunes, first with only guitar and harmonica and subsequently with expanded use of instruments and arrangements. From the late 1990s he has reappeared with the Flatlanders, with whom he was to release a series of albums in 2004.

Hancock lived in Austin, a place congenial to his progressive country style, for a couple of decades until he moved to the ghosttown region of Terlingua, Texas in the '90s, preferring more rural environs.

Progressive country is a subgenre of country music developed in the early 1970s. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, mainstream country music was dominated by the slick Nashville sound and the rock-influenced Bakersfield sound of artists like Merle Haggard. A new generation of country artists emerged, influenced by contemporary rock music, singer-songwriters such as Bob Dylan, and the liberal politics of the 1960s counterculture.


Butch Hancock has been called "one of the finest songwriters of our time" [3] and is acknowledged by his peers as one of the premier Texas singer-songwriters. [2] His lyrics are ingenious, excelling in metaphor and irony and displaying a world-weary trait, just as he is a master of seeing the miracle in the ordinary. His lyric style has often been compared[ citation needed ] with that of Bob Dylan, and his songs have been sung by the likes of Emmylou Harris. [4]

Emmylou Harris American musician

Emmylou Harris is an American singer, songwriter, and musician. She has released dozens of albums and singles over the course of her career and won 14 Grammys, the Polar Music Prize, and numerous other honors, including induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2018 she was presented the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

In addition to the more traditional sounds Butch Hancock infused eclectic styles in his earlier recordings with artists Alex Coke, Austin Klezmorim's Bill Averbach, Spyder Johnson, John Hagan, the Squeezetones' Ponty Bone, and pianist Marcia Ball.[ citation needed ] For his fans his tunes evoke mystical visions of wind-swept, dry-plains and prairies.

Eclecticism conceptual approach

Eclecticism is a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases. However, this is often without conventions or rules dictating how or which theories were combined.

Alex Coke is a jazz saxophonist and flutist. He graduated with his B.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1976. Before moving to Amsterdam in 1992, he was the recipient of many local awards. In the 1990s, Coke toured with the Dutch jazz ensemble the Willem Breuker Kollektief. Following his return to Austin, Texas in 2000, he has worked with numerous groups including the Live-Action Brass Band, the Leadbelly Legacy Band, New Texas Swing, The Worthy Constituents, the Paradise Regained Orchestra, the Trio Henk de Jonge, the John Jordan Trio, the Mysterious Quartet from Helsinki, Double Drummer Bill, the Creative Opportunity Orchestra with Tina Marsh, J.A.M.A.D., Carl Smith Tentet, and Ramone Herman and Labor of Love. He has two children, Eva and Reed.

Austin Klezmorim

Austin Klezmorim is a klezmer music group founded in 1979 in Austin, Texas by trumpeter and composer Bill Averbach.

Hancock has deliberately avoided satisfying the cravings of the markets, preferring to see his music as an end in itself, recording and releasing much of his music on his own and spending his energies on other things than a musical career. [5] He is a talented photographer, with a gallery named "Lubbock or Leave it" in the 1980s and 1990s, and currently (Fall 2009) showing his photographs and drawings at Bluebird Gallery in Wimberley, Texas. [6]

Interviews with Butch Hancock, Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore along with many others of the so-called Lubbock Mafia appear in the film: Lubbock Lights [7] which was released in 2005.

Trivia: The album titles Own & Own and Own the way over here are making use of a play on words, own being a Texan dialectical pronunciation of the word on.


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  1. Moore, James (2009-09-04). "The Lies of Texas Are Upon You". Huffington Post . 2010 HuffingtonPost.com, Inc. Retrieved 2010-10-17.
  2. 1 2 Brad Buchholz: "The Image Maker Singer-songwriter Butch Hancock puts some of his visions on films". Archived from the original on 2003-04-17. Retrieved 2008-11-15.The Dallas Morning News Sunday, May 29, 1994.
  3. Steve Pick: Butch Hancock Bests Them All With Exquisite Lyrics, Melodies St. Louis Post-Dispatch November 27, 1994.
  4. Emmylou, Harris: Bluebird, track 10. Reprise, 1989.
  5. Don McLeese: From blank to beautiful // Hancock wants to paint city's artistic pride on empty walls Austin American-Statesman Thursday, January 28, 1993.
  6. http://www.bluebirdgallery.blogspot.com/
  7. http://www.lubbock-lights.com