Traci Lamar Hancock lost her battle with ovarian cancer today.
If you are not familiar with her and her work you may be forgiven for not knowing what a great loss this is for the musical community of Texas and Austin in particular. The influence of the Hancock Family is legendary centered around Tommy X Hancock and the Hancock family band, the Texana Dames.
They were in the middle of everything good when I first moved to Austin, and unlike many established artists I met when I was first starting out, they were as friendly and generous as can be. It was the indication of a family, both genetic and by choice, based on love in its purest form.
I met Traci years ago when she got up and sang a wonderful Ranchera with Santiago Jimenez, Jr., who really hated when people wanted to sit in but admitted to me she was one of the best vocalists he had backed up, quite the feat for a gringa from West Texas. (Frankly, I assumed she was Mexican!) Her wonderfully powerful voice, backed by her ever present accordion, coupled with her love of the regional music of Texas added an authentic Tex-Mex tinge to the Dames sound and for a good long while was the soundtrack for the city.
Austin isn't like she used to be and "new" Austin and the newcomers didn't really snap to old line acts like the Dames, for whatever reason. Like for many of us, the work started to trickle and then dry up. Then the diagnosis came. (Here's a photo play of Traci and the Dames entertaining the cancer ward just this last Christmas.)
She had to struggle through her illness for several years now without insurance and the effect has left her family more than a little bit strapped. If you feel moved and if you have the means, please see about making a contribution to defray the many expenses that the family is now burdened with. Follow this link to make a donation.
Peace and love.
May her memory be a blessing to us all.