Wayne "The Train" Hancock

Neo-honky-tonker Wayne Hancock's nickname is "The Train," and though it might appear convenient to give the native Texan the moniker simply because of the Dr. ­Seuss-style rhyme one can play with his first name, Hancock has earned an allegiance with perhaps country music's greatest symbol of both heartbreak and freedom (cited in country tunes such as Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," Gram Parsons's "Luxury Liner," and newbie-traditionalist Josh Turner's "Long Black Train," to name a few). Over five studio discs and one live set since 1995, no other contemporary country artist has mined country tradition quite like Hancock, who, like his idols Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers (who worked on railroads in his youth and whose nickname was "the Singing Brakeman"), eschews drums in favor of a stripped-down live band featuring acoustic and electric guitar, stand-up bass, and pedal steel. But just because there is no Neil Peart onstage to keep the beat and deliver a self-flagellating drum solo, don't think Hancock and his band can't get a crowd two-stepping with his potent brew of jump blues and hillbilly swing.


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