Butch Hancock Still Sings in the Wind’s Dominion
“But there ain’t no hard proof, just this opinion
Love lives under the Wind’s Dominion” – Butch Hancock
I was born in West Texas near Abilene during the winds of March in the year 1955. The wind there blows through the prairies into shallow canyons and red hills creating a high pitch moan, a haunting kind of constant cry. On the night I was born, some 150 miles away, in Lubbock, ten-year-old Butch Hancock was staying awake at night with his window open listening for the lonesome, restless sound of the distant boxcars. Somehow, the sound of the wind and the trains found it’s way into the songs of Butch Hancock and so many other Texas troubadours I’ve felt drawn to. It’s the sound I respond to when I hear other Texans like Buddy Holly, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Cindy Walker, and Kris Kristofferson to name a few. Butch’s music strikes a chord in me in a deeply soulful and personal way. It’s the music of the wind.
In 1956, during the April winds, word came from the New Mexico border to my home town that my father had been killed in a tragic light plane crash leaving me, my four older siblings and our Mother without our ‘Daddy.’ I’m too young to remember that night, but my brothers and sister all describe the cry of the West Texas wind. The sound of it. The lonley howl. Somewhere out there, that night, Butch must’ve been listening to the sorrow in the wind when, in later years, he wrote:
Like a fallin’ moon, like a risin’ mountain
all the days are numbered, but nobody’s counting.
Another man’s gone, one man’s opinion
They’re blown apart in the wind’s dominion.
Butch Hancock’s life is as diverse as his songs. A student of architecture, a photographer, river-rafter, philosopher, student of Buddhism and one fine singer-songwriter and guitar picker. He and his two best friends, Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, have become Texas legends as they look back on nearly 40 years of music; together in The Flatlanders and as solo artists. With classic songs like “If You Were A Bluebird” and “West Texas Waltz”, Butch brings the Texas prairie together with the peaks of Tibet. He is both the contemplative who can converse like a mystic monk and a rugged cowboy who knows the road and the wilderness terrain of his native land. Today, Butch is on a solo tour across country. He’ll be stopping through Altadena California on May 19 at The Coffee Gallery Backstage.