James Hand is a native of West, Texas. He often composes music outside, walking his land. However, since the deadly explosion at West Fertilizer Company in April, he says writing music has not come easily.
“I don’t think I’m able to write a song that would explain all the hurt, terror, the sorrow, the despair, the anguish, and the loss of everything,” he says.
James Hand’s music is rooted in place, particularly the town of West. “You know it’s like now, when you go somewhere, and you open a door for somebody, well they look at you like you’re funny. Well it ain’t that a way there. West is a throwback to 75 years ago when everybody was kind to one another, was nice to one another, and did things for one another," says Hand.
Most people in town were touched by the tragedy in one way or another. Now residents are attempting to rebuild their lives. James Hand and other musicians will play a benefit for West in August at Austin’s Saxon Pub.