Sultan of Swing

Of the artists on Chicago’s "insurgent country" label Bloodshot Records -- Ryan Adams, Neko Case, Split Lip Rayfield, etc. -- veteran road dog Wayne "The Train" Hancock is probably the truest to the mythos of classic country music. While he's got the middle-finger-toward-Nashville attitude of the ’70s outlaws, Hancock’s dead-set on preserving the hard-living whine of Hank Williams and the ecstatic bounce of Bob Wills’ Western swing. If you're disgruntled with standard alt-country, you'll get giddy on The Train's populist, juke-joint-swing pick-me-ups. As he sings just seconds into his fine new record, Viper of Melody: “I want to jump the blues and make the hard times swing.”
Sun., Aug. 2, 7 p.m., 2009
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Elliott Johnston