An inside look at what’s new with Hank III, including FOUR new albums!
It’s tough to be saddled with a famous pedigree and expected to walk the line, so to speak, on that same path blazed by your forebears. Worse still, fate doubled own on Hank III– he’s compared not just to his grandfather, the great Hank Williams, but to his father as well, populist and welder of the southern rock to country, Hank Williams Jr.
Like any rebellious child, Hank Williams III squirmed for a bit, indulging his heavier side with projects like Assjack and Superjoint Ritual. But genetics are hard to duck, and even the sludgy Assjack had a weird kind of “cow metal” sensibility. With 1999’s solo outing Risin’ Outlaw, Hank III took his rock and roll attitude, impolite subject matter, and applied it to country. Like his own song says, “If the shoe fits/ wear it,” the man has since etched out a career in C&W’s gutter.
What fans may not have known was that the situation between Williams III and his label Curb Records had turned acrimonious since they first paired up for Risin’ Outlaw. After refusing to release the Hank III album This Ain’t Country when it was turned in to the label in 2003, Curb has decided to push the record out this year under the name Hillbilly Joker. But the real joker having the last laugh will no doubt be Hank himself, who is releasing not one, but three new records this year. Notably, Ghost to Ghost/Gutter Town is actually a double album, bringing that count up to four. Attention Deficit Domination is purportedly a doom metal record, and 3 Bar Ranch Cattle Callin’ falls somewhere between the two in a genre christened “cattle core.” Finally in charge of his own production, Hank III created his own label (appropriately titled Hank3) to manage his discography. We can only hold on tight and see where Hank III takes his sound next.
Adam Schragin is the editor of MadeLoud, which features its own stable of country musicians.