Born in Palmerdale, Alabama, the son of a local police officer, Austin was raised on a diet of Country Blues, Gospel and FM Rock. Austin began his music career by writing his first song in the fifth grade and forming a band with his schoolmates and he has never looked back. After numerous awards and wins in country talent shows and high school contests, things got a little more serious in college, when Austin started the Americana rock act Slick Lilly. As the band's popularity grew regionally, Austin began breaking attendance records in standing room only clubs and shows and opening for such acts as the Black Crowes, Georgia Satellites, The Bodeans, Blues Traveller, Reverend Horton Heat, Widespread Panic, Jesus Jones, Squeeze, Peter Frampton and entire Summer tours with Drivin'n'Cryin and others. With the Slick Lilly, Austin's song "Light of the Trail" brought the band national exposure when it became the number one most requested song for five weeks on Birmingham's 100,000 watt Top 40 radio station Kicks 106, an unprecedented feat for an unsigned band. The Band signed with Indie Label Kudzu and inked a management deal with New Era Management. Slick Lilly soon had a rock radio hit coast to coast with the Waddy Watchel produced "Dirty Water", another Hanks song. The band toured constantly, landing a spot on the Ted Nugent/Bad Summer Tour in 1995. The rigorous touring took its toll on Slick Lilly and after one fateful tour several of the band members decided call it quits and band dissolved.
Austin decided to take this opportunity to seek out the broader pastures of Nashville where many of his idols made their names. Slinging his guitar over his shoulder, Austin packed his bags and jumped in his cruiser and in three chords and a cloud of dust made his way to Nashville. Nashville immediately greeted Austin with open arms. He formed a new band, Austin Hanks and the United with an all-star lineup that included Grammy Award Winner, Nick Kane of the Mavericks on rock-a-billy guitar. In Nashville, Austin began to experiment and expand his music sensibilities creating a true Americana Rockin Country Blues Band.
During his stay in Nashville, Austin's pops sensibilities came full circle when he wrote the song "Candy In the Sun" for his good friends Swirl 360 of Mercury Records. Austin and Dennis Scott made some changes to the anthem and the rest is history. "Candy in the Sun" is currently one of the most sought after pop songs for major movie soundtracks, major television series and international commercial usage in recent history.
This landed Austin a publishing deal with EMI which sent him riding in his cruiser out west to Los Angeles. In the glitter streets of Sunset and Hollywood Blvd, Austin discovered a vibrant important scene reinvigorating the spirit of country rock music. In this environment, filled with the energy of city and the diversity of influences Austin found a vehicle to fully develop his hybrid country rock. He has become a leader and important fixture in this scene. He is known to run with the Hillybilly Rat Pack, which includes the likes of Billy Bob Thorton and Bill Paxton. He plays to large local crowds and is one of the primary artists at the regular "It Came From Nashville" acoustic ensemble. He recently made an appearance on Nashville Star and played at Universal Amphitheatre at the Sin City: Tribute to Graham Parson show. During the Summer of 2005 is opening several dates for Lynyrd Skynyrd. Austin has thrived in Los Angeles, but among the party kids and the fabulous people of the Hollywood club scene, Austin remains among the "last of the full grown men" He has continued to maintain his southern values and integrity. He takes pride in his family, his tattoos and his guitars and continues to play "your daddy's rock-n-roll"