Arthur Hancock is a name that you likely know, but if not let me fill ya in a bit. Arthur is a Kentuckian that has helped create a ton of music that has provided the soundtrack to many of our road trips around here. From his time with Tyler Childers in the band High Wall to the progressive bluegrass sounds of The Wooks, Arthur has the respect of his peers and the adoration of his fans.
Things changed for Arthur and he decided to step back and reevaluate his path. Once a prominent banjo player, Arthur suffered a thumb injury and was forced to move to only playing the guitar. That move was not an easy one for Arthur, as his first love is the banjo and when you play in a bluegrass band, a banjo is the driving force of your sound.
That took a toll and stripped some of the joy of playing from him. He stepped away from The Wooks and shifted his attention back to Kentucky.
During that time, Arthur reinvented who he wanted to be as a musician and that’s what gets us to this point. Arthur recently recruited an all-star cast of players to record a new five-song EP. He made the trek to Nashville where he recorded with producer Alison Brown at Compass Sound Studios.
He assembled his own team of superstar Avengers as he had J.T. Cure on bass (Chris Stapleton), Jesse Wells on electric guitars (Tyler Childers), Miles Miller on drums and harmonies (Sturgill Simpson), Joe Andrews played acoustic guitar (Old Crow Medicine Show), Ross Holmes played all the fiddle and mandolin (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) and Robert Greer (Town Mountain) added some harmonies to the mix as well.
Arthur wrote all the songs, minus ‘Take Me Back To The Country’. That one is a cover that was written by Larry Rice. If you’re a Wooks fan, you’ll recognize two songs that are reworked versions of songs that Arthur wrote and recorded while with the band. The reworked versions of “Out Of Mine” and “Surface” are absolute perfection. The other three songs will definitely be crowd favorites, particularly the track “Wolfpen Branch” which is written about a certain festival on the creek where folks kick it.
This music is a not a huge departure from The Wooks, so you can breathe easy again. It does lean a bit more country at times, but you’re not taking the bluegrass out of Arthur.
The EP ‘Alive At Hillbilly Central’ releases on September 20th through Hickman Holler Records. Smack dab in the middle of Kickin’ It On The Creek. You can crank up the first track right now and see what all the fuss is about.