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Butch Hancock muses on "War and Peace"

By Brett Leigh Dicks, February 2007

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It can also place you firmly within the world that is around you. No matter whether it is the current state of insanity that is being played out on a world stage or the intimate environment that surrounds him, a myriad of experiences have worked their way into Hancock's music in an evolutionary progression.

"My first album back in ‘78 was ‘West Texas Waltzes and Dust-Blown Tractor Tunes,' and that was pretty much a case of what you see is what you get," laughs Hancock. "I wrote a lot of those songs while driving a tractor around Lubbock for my dad. There's the cows in the fields, there's a gal sitting on a tractor on the hill, and there's the school bus heading down the old country road."

"That environment was the one that influenced those songs. As things progressed, I started looking a little more inwardly; I started looking at the inner world of a person. When you live in a city, you get many more impressions happening, Maybe not more impressions, but defiantly much more complex ones than the simple tractor driving."

Across the course of 14 solo releases, Hancock has molded and refined both his approach to music and also to life itself. His first album might have embraced the world in which he was raised, but touring the globe with his songs have afforded him the opportunity to explore other cultures and worlds. Which, in turn, has also helped him view his corner of the world in a different light.

"When I went down to Australia a few years back, that trip really opened my eyes to things back here in the States," explains Hancock. "I got to looking at Lubbock and thinking everything I saw there was imported, nothing was there originally."

"Lubbock used to be just buffalo grass and high plains. And now there isn't even any buffalo grass left, as it's all cotton farms. Even the dirt isn't original. That blew in from the next county and the next state! So nothing really belongs there which makes it strange to grow up there and then start realizing things like that."

As Hancock's realization so dramatic affords, it is often within our very own backyard that the most inflicting insight and revelations can be found. Such a change could be considered a feather in the cap through the taming of the frontier and the conquering of the west. One could even view the evolution as the strides made in the name of progress for mankind. But is it really progress? As Hancock so fervently questions on "War and Peace," one has to ponder exactly how much progress we as a society have actually made?

"The Twentieth Century has gone through some incredible changes," surmised Hancock. "We have gone from country living to urbanization and here we go head long into the technological world of the future. But, in doing so, we have somehow jumped backwards 400 or 500 years to medieval times in our politics and war mentality. Which is ridiculous in this day and age."

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