Wayne Hancock

A-Town Blues

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AllMusic Review by

There are never any big stylistic surprises with Hancock -- the man knows what works for him musically and never veers outside of his circle of comfort. In the case of Wayne "The Train" Hancock, this means that he is still pounding out the same retro country/honky tonk/Western swing vibe that he has toyed with since his excellent 1995 debut, Thunderstorms and Neon Signs. Hancock's fourth album, A-Town Blues, features more anachronistically pleasing old-time music augmented by warbled Southwestern vocals. On his first release for the insurgent country label Bloodshot Records, the wayward troubadour touches on familiar genre subject matter as well. Tales of road weariness ("Route 23"), warnings about booze and breaking the law ("Miller, Jack, and Mad Dog"), and, of course, heartbreak ("Sands of Time") are all recurring themes. Surprisingly, a production hand by longtime collaborator Lloyd Maines (Wilco, Richard Buckner) doesn't really add much to Hancock's naturally sparse sound, though. If anything, it's Maines' appropriately placed steel guitar licks that actually do more for the album. All in all, A-Town Blues is yet another excellent release from a homely, all-American artist.

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