James Hand

James Hand talks about writing songs before he could write, how his songs help people dance, and playing for $15 a night and a free beer.

James Hand

James Hand

Interview Recap

James Hand says his friends can call him "Slim." He was born in Waco and has lived in West about 16 miles north of Waco since about 1959. He says he's got some land up there where he keeps a couple of horses. But he says "There too old to ride and I'm too old to ride them."

James Hand talks about how Mighty Lonesome Man came together. The label Hillgrass Bluebelly picked up his contract when he got free from his previous label. James Hand says he was very grateful for the opportunity. He says "You always wonder if it's going to be as good as the last album or as not as good. But it's been received well. I want everybody to know It's not a work of 30 minutes. The main thing is for everybody to know how much it means to me to listen to it."

James Hand sets up "Mighty Lonesone Man," He says the main thing is that it's not true all the time.

[Calvin plays the title track from James Hand's Mighty Lonesome Man.]

James Hand gives his thanks to Deb Perry for producing the album and to Keith Mallette at the label for taking him on. James Hand says "There's a lot more to a song than sitting on the back porch and scratching one out. Everybody put a lot of hard work into this album and I appreciate it."

James Hand talks about his music. "When I was a kid. I started at 12 or 13 years old. You don't realize it then but you as you grow older you realize that if you can get people to dance to your music, maybe they'll listen to it. And after they listen to it maybe they'll like the words to it or something. From having done it so long, I just kinda like that thumpa thump beat. Most peolple like me can't dance anyway and they need all the help they can get."

James Hand says he likes to play at the Broke Spoke and the Way Out West. He says it's hard to narrow it down to his favorit places but he likes to play wherever there's people who like that style of music. "Basically people are the same, it don't matter they want to hear something they can relate to. Ain't nobody every sold a band aid to someone who wasn't cut or sold an aspirin to someone who didn't have a headache."

James Hand sets up "Now Not Later." He says it's about a fella who looks around and sees his own mortality. And he thinks if there's something good to say about him he wants to hear it now, not later.

[Calvin plays "Now, Not Later" from Mighty Lonesome Man by James Hand.]

James Hand gives credit Earl Pool Ball for the piano riff.

James Hand says he has been writing songs since he was a teenager. His grandmother kept some of his early writings and they are from when he was so young he was still printing letters instead of writing. He says he thinks he first got paid to perform when he was 14 or 15 years old. "I was making $15 a night and a free beer then and I'm still making $15 a night and free beer now."

James Hand talks about when he got to play the Grand Old Opry. He says that people don't think it's such a big deal now. But to him it was the pinncle. It was a dream come true. "It was like I was there but I wasn't there. As much as I enjoyed the moment, I wished that I'd taken more time to realize what an honor it was."

James hand talks about keeping up his enthusiasm for music. "No matter where your talent lies, I don't care what it is whether it's fixing a Rubik's cube or whatever. Your supposed to enjoy doing it and try to enjoy doing it. And not let it overwhelm you to the point where you don't have any feeling left for it or any passion left for it. It's all supposed to stay new. And I try to keep it that way."

James Hand sets up "Wish You Would Kiss Me." James says if I've got to explain it I didn't write it to good."

[Calvin plays "Wish You Would Kiss Me" from Mighty Lonesome Man by James Hand.]

James Hand talks about his part in the movie. Matt Matheson asked him to play a part in an independent movie called Thanks A Lot, which is about a reclusive guy whos' gotten out of the music business but his son's trying to get him to get back into it.

James Hand says he's working on a gospel album. He's got several songs written already. He says he's been wanting to put out a gospel album for years and Mighty Lonesome Man is one of his few albums that doesn't have a gospel tune on it because he's been saving them up for a his gospel album.

web site.

Rotation 336

  • Hard World / Murder By Death / Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon / 3:37
  • In The Longest Night / Radar's Clowns of Sedation / Radar's Clowns of Sedation / 4:53
  • Wheel and Wrench / Gordie Tentrees / North Country Heart / 3:45
  • Yesterday Is Here / Bettye LaVette / Thankful N' Thoughtful / 3:38
  • Wasted Words / Louis Ledford / Century Plant On Esplanade Ave / 3:23
  • Midnight Beauty / Caleb Caudle / Tobacco Town / 2:54
  • Another Love Song / Ted Russell Kamp / Night Owl / 3:14
  • Tequila Y Mota / Rich Mahan / Blame Bobby Bare / 3:52
  • Almost To Tulsa / Junior Brown / Volume Ten / 3:14

Americana Music Show


The Americana Music Show is copyright 2012 by Taproot Media. The music and interviews in this episode are used with permission of the artists.


If you have any feedback for this episode or any other episode feel free to leave a comment on the episode page or send mail to calvin@americanamusicshow.com.


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