ACL Fest Interviews

ACL Fest Interviews

Butch Hancock

Friday 5:15pm, Austin Ventures stage
Lubbock-born Butch Hancock is a genuine West Texas Renaissance man. In addition to being one of the state's most revered songwriters, penning classics like "If You Were a Bluebird" and "Boxcars," he dabbles in architecture, photography, and guiding rafters down the Rio Grande in Big Bend.

While many of the images and emotions Hancock conjures up in song are recognizable, his songwriting imbues them with a whiff of the transcendental. Maintaining that mindset was one reason Hancock left Austin for the ghost town cum iconoclast colony of Terlingua.

"It feels like it suits my spirit much better," he says. "I tell everybody there's elbow room for the spirit out here."

Currently, Hancock is utilizing his architecture skills by building a new house.

"It's slightly regular so far, but the corners are starting to curve and strange things are starting to happen to it," he laughs.

Hancock hasn't released a solo album since 1997's You Coulda Walked Around the World on his own Rainlight label, but he's been plenty busy with the Flatlanders. After a 30-year recording sabbatical, Hancock, Joe Ely, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore have released three albums in three years. In addition, Hancock's "The Damage Done" appears on 13 Ways to Live (Red House), an anti-war-themed compilation hitting stores Tuesday.

Although staying independent means some of his back catalog is hard to locate, it affords Hancock the luxury of releasing on his own schedule. Accordingly, Hancock is now tentatively planning to release a disc of political songs prior to the election.

"I did one of the songs in Canada with the Flatlanders, and this guy came over to talk to me after the show," relates Hancock. "He must've been one of only two people in the audience that didn't like the song. We had a good, long discussion about it. I told him that every song I've ever written is an anti-war song. That's what the music is all about. Make music, not war."

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Greg Beets
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
80 local picks from Molly Burch to Brownout

Dec. 28, 2018

Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
80 local picks from Molly Burch to Brownout

Dec. 28, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Butch Hancock, the Flatlanders, 13 Ways to Live, Austin City Limits Music Festival, ACL Fest, ACL

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle