Wayne Hancock save my life and doesn’t even know it. I know you all love a story and boy do I have one for you this time. Once upon a time I lived in a land far away from home. You see I had packed up the whole horde and moved them to Phoenix, AZ. This might have been a worse decision than marrying my first wife! I was as miserable as miserable could be. I only found one juke joint where I could even feel at home. I started plotting my escape within a month of getting there! As it came to pass, about three months and two weeks in to our self-imposed exile to Satan’s asshole I was at the Rogue West. It was fifty-cent-PBR-in-a-can night and I was working on getting tight when a friend showed up and told me that Wayne “The Train” was playing at a dive not too far away. So I straightened up my cowboy hat and out the door we went.
As it turns out this little show was sponsored by PBR and let me tell you those PBR girls had it going on! I scored two shirts and kept up my progress on gettin’ tight. Wayne still hadn’t come on yet and I ran in to a fellow from work and his lady. The friend I originally came with had disappeared, or maybe I had, and was nowhere to be found so I hung with Justin and his girl for the rest of the evening. When we walked in to get rowdy to some good clean country music I noticed something. I looked around as the band took the stage. I took in the whole damn crowd. I was in Phoenix, AZ and was the only bastard, at a Wayne “The Train” Hancock show wearing a cowboy hat, save the band of course. I was surrounded by, you guessed it, hipsters. Standing in that very spot, with Wayne belting out “That’s What Daddy Wants” I vowed I’d be back in God’s country, Texas that is, before the month was out! And I was. Two weeks later I packed the whole family back up and moved back to where I oughtn’t have left to begin with. (Yes that’s me and my friend Justin’s old lady at the very show I just told ya’ about!)
Some of you will understand why Mr. Hancock inspired me to move home but some of you may have been living under a rock since 1995. You see, Wayne Hancock knows what country music is supposed to sound like and he plays it like it should be. Ride isn’t any different. This is country music boys and girls. This isn’t Americana, this isn’t Southern Rock, this isn’t Alt County. Ladies and gentlemen I declare this to be pure, unadulterated country music. It is inspired in it’s simplicity and driven by just the right amount twang in Wayne’s voice. There’s not an artist on any Clear Channel station that’s worthy of cleaning up this boy’s tour bus when he’s done with it!
As smooth as Wayne ever is this album is very easy to lose yourself in. I can easily dream up a tin roof, in the rain, over a rickety porch with an ice chest full of cheap beer and put myself right on it with Ride playing on an old record player. From the thumpity thump of the stand up bass to the moaning of the sad machine everything is just right on this one. I don’t know if it’s my favorite Wayne Hancock album ever but it’s up there with the best of them. You should already know what this kid sounds like and you should already be ready to pick up this little slice of country music. But if, like I mentioned earlier, you have lived under a rock since 1995 then there’s a little something for you at the end of this post. Or you can just take my word that Ride is Essential Listening and go pick it up.