Local Wire

Wayne "The Train" Hancock

Wayne "The Train" Hancock likes to swing. Every night, he gathers up his three-piece barnstormers and travels the highways, serving up his mixture of hillbilly swing, rockabilly, and hardcore Hank Sr. honky-tonk, the sort of stuff that sends people to two-step programs at Hillbillies Anonymous. "I don't get it," Hancock says with a laugh. "I did this interview the other day, and the guy asks me if I hate the road. Hell, about every other song on my new CD [Tulsa, due out on October 10] is about how much I love the road."

Hancock, his guitarist, and a doghouse bass player do America by the numbers, one gig at a time, in the time-honored tradition of hit-and-run gutbucket ensembles that are as much a soundtrack for the open road as the highway whine of 18-wheelers and air brakes. "I do like coming out there to Phoenix, man," Hancock says. "Particularly when I get to come down from the north and east — I love old [Route] 66. What's left of it."

So what does a diehard like Hancock spin on the dashboard disc player of his rolling '99 Dodge shotgun van — Carl Perkins or Stonewall Jackson? Webb Pierce, or maybe some old Porter Wagoner? "Yesterday we was listenin' to Duke Ellington, Louis Jordan, Count Basie," he says. "Fact is, we're all big band swing fanatics."

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Henry Cabot Beck