A Texas resident by choice for many years, Jim Hancock was actually born in Okinawa in 1959, due to his father's participation in the United States Army. He has been singing all his life and first picked up the guitar when he was in 7th grade. The first time he remembers performing musically was in the 5th grade playing the trombone. After graduating from Anderson High School in Austin in 1976, he went to college for a semester, majoring in nothing, then joined the Navy. In 1980 he began studying voice and music theory at the University of Texas. In 1982, his life took a turn toward the road. He attended his first Kerrville Folk Festival and began hitchiking in the summers.
i started learning my real music by jamming with friends like Peter Treece, Kenny & Kevin Kelly, and Reed Berry," says Jim, "Ky Hote was a big influence on me musically and also encouraged me to travel. I kind of followed him around for a while, learning his style of playing. I really surprised him one time showing up at a salmon bake restaurant in Juneau, Alaska where he was playing. He actually missed a few words to the song he was singing!"
He started playing at restaurants, open mikes, Rainbow Gatherings and for people he met on the road from as far north as the Yukon and as far south as Nicaragua; solo and with diverse bands from rock and roll to reggae. From early on, Jim has had an ear for a good song and began accumulating the current repertoire of hundreds of songs he now can pull out at the drop of a hat. In 1986, he performed at his first Renaissance Festival with The Great American Rainbow Gypsy Theatre. In 1987, he was the Music Director at King Richard's Faire in Boston and Chicago and, also in 1987, he recorded with Jim and Joyce Lillquist's group, The Gypsy Guerrilla Band. That association proved to be fruitful and he stayed with them for 10 seasons, recording 5 albums with them and playing renaissance festivals, state fairs and other special events all over the country. Since 1997, he has been a regular solo act on the renaissance festival circuit, sitting in and supporting other bands' music as well as doing his own stage shows, and is back to Music Directing, mostly at the Sterling Renaissance Festival.
A founding member of the Burly Minstrels (also of the Merry Minstrels around Christmas), some other groups he has performed with include: Cantiga, Celtic Stone, the Minstrels of Mayhem, As You Like It, the New World Renaissance Band and Empty Hats. Steve Gillette, Michelle Shocked, Seven Thunders, David Amram, Brian Cutean and many others have enjoyed Jim's legendary ability to accompany and "jam" with almost anyone. While known mostly for his dynamic work on guitar and vocals, Jim also excels on mandolin, acoustic bass and cittern. In 1997, he was selected as an "Artist-In Residence" for the Disney Institute at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Lately he's been busy with his jimusic Mobile Studios, a 32-track digital recording studio. He has recorded several albums, two movies, and lots of tracks for friends and clients everywhere. His mobile studio has allowed him to record in many different settings and with numerous musicians that he knows all over the country. He hopes to record more musicians that otherwise might not get a chance to record.
What are Jim's long term goals? Making people smile, bringing about peace on Earth and realizing the power of music, which is always greater when it's shared.