James Hand writes and sings like Hank Williams, and makes the kind of hard honky-tonk music that hasn't really been in vogue since Buck and Merle raised a ruckus out in Bakersfield in the early '60s. And if he sounds like he's been directly beamed in to the waiting world from some west Texas honky-tonk, well, in fact he's been beamed in to the waiting world from some west Texas honky-tonk.
Now 58 years old, he's been working as a rancher and cowboy most of his life (yes, apparently these people actually exist) and singing in dusty bars on the weekends. He's got two albums out on Rounder Records, one from 2006 called The Truth Will Set You Free (that phrase rings a (cow)bell), and one from 2009 called Shadow on the Ground. And if you like Hank, Buck, Merle, and the whole anti-slick country contingent, he sounds real good. This is truckstop jukebox music at its best.