That's What Daddy Wants by Wayne Hancock
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Wayne Hancock's piercing, nasal tenor reminds one immediately of Hank Williams Sr., but unlike a lot of neo-hillbillies, this young Texan resembles his hero without any trace of reverence or irony. On his second album, That's What Daddy Wants
, Hancock cruises through a dozen originals and one remake ("Brand New Cadillac") with a naturalness that's disarming. As you listen to these songs about barrooms, bedrooms, and badlands, you find yourself thinking not about the history of the bygone honky-tonk and rockabilly styles that Hancock draws on but about "that gal with the blue dress on" and "a thousand miles of open desert road." As a songwriter, Hancock simply recycles the two-step rhythms, three-chord changes, 12-bar blues, four-lane highways, and two-women troubles of his favorite old records. He invests this ordinary material with exceptional life, however, thanks to the irresistible vitality of his vocals. Whenever he comes to a key word in a song, he stretches it out into an aching drawl before turning it into a low growl or a high yodel. Joe Ely's old pedal steel guitarist, Lloyd Maines, produced the album with admirable restraint, giving Hancock's voice lots of room but also egging it along with hints of Western swing and Dixieland. --Geoffrey Himes