Butch Hancock Heads West to Terlingua

Folk/country singer Butch Hancock is leaving Wimberley, Texas, but not because he has to.

The town between Austin and San Antonio was among the hardest hit by recent flooding, but Hancock’s house was on high ground. His timing is coincidental.

His family already planned to leave when Hancock’s son Rory finished high school and move to Terlingua — population 58 in 2010 — in the West Texas desert outside of El Paso.

“I love it out there,” Hancock said. “I call it ‘elbow room for the spirit.’ ”

Hancock will perform at Chickie Wah Wah on Friday.

They were young, restless, in love with rock ’n’ roll, and they wanted to get out. They played together in 1972 and 1973 as The Flatlanders, a group whose reputation has grown as they’ve each achieved fame on their own.

Hancock is the most prolific songwriter of the three. In one legendary stretch in 1990, he played the Cactus Cafe in Austin, Texas, six nights in a row without repeating a song — more than 140 songs.

Some of Ely and Gilmore’s best-known recordings are of Hancock compositions — “Dallas,” “Boxcars,” “She Never Spoke Spanish to Me” and “Just a Wave, Not the Water” — among them.

His best songs deal with classic themes such as love and loss, but he plays with perspective.

“Have you ever seen Dallas from a DC-9 at night?” he asked. In “Boxcars,” the whine of the train rolling along the edge of town makes him think about a better life somewhere down the line.

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