Hank III is stirring things up
October 30, 2008
Hank Williams III would have you believe he’s just another redneck, hiding out in east Tennessee with a pistol, a case of beer and a bad attitude.
He may be, but he’s an artist, too.
A natural-born storyteller ” like his father, his grandfather and presumably every ornery member of the cantankerous line ” Williams not only carries on the family tradition, he builds on it on his latest album with the kind of lyrical virtuosity the original Hank used to transform country music. His subject matter just happens to be a little different.
There are moments of pure beauty and uncommon insight from a man capable of playing top-notch traditional country music and subverting it in the same instant.
Williams covers the same kind of ground he worked in three previous albums, but he carves it up in new ways both musically and lyrically. He sings directly to and about his audience ” guys who work for a living, count out change for a six pack and get betrayed by the system.
On “3 Shades of Black,” he sings: “Depression misery and hellacious fun … We’re a certain breed and we don’t like you/Some are junkies, some are freaks and some are everyday ghouls. “Wild and Free” is a slow piece spiked with a mocking steel guitar and plenty of venom about “Livin’ hard, wild and free.” “Me & My Friends” takes the traditional down-and-out country song and pushes it into a zone of truthfulness your buttoned-down Nashville songwriter wouldn’t venture with its acerbic opening line: “I’m all messed up and drivin’ around town.”
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“Damn Right Rebel Proud” is at its best ” like Hank III ” when its jacked up and drivin’ hard. “H8 Line” and “Long Hauls & Close Calls” are the highlights. The two tracks are pieces of country psychedelia that feel like a hard night of partying with a few unsavory characters.
CHECK THIS OUT: “The Grand Ole Opry (Ain’t So Grand)” is Hank III’s anthem for the campaign to get his grandfather reinstated into Nashville’s legendary radio show. It’s irreverent, hilarious and profane enough to twirl Minnie Pearl’s hat right off her head.