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Hank Williams III is the son of Hank Williams Jr, who in turn was the son of country music legend Hank Williams. He's released seven albums to date and his music, while rooted in country, manages to include rock, punk and hardcore.
Hank III can only be described as Country-Punk. Taking a totally left-field approach to country music has alienated a lot of the Nashville crowd, which is something he quite likes. He's a self styled outlaw who seems like he's on a path to self destruction - kind of like a country Amy Winehouse.
His albums aren't that easy to listen to, but as the week has gone on I've really got into Damn Right, Rebel Proud - probably for all the wrong reasons!
Hank Williams III isn't so much hillbilly - he's hell-billy. He's a self-styled outlaw and he doesn't half go on about his hell-raising and general nuisance type qualities on his songs. Nearly all of the songs are about fighting, drinking and cocaine - check out 'PFF' for that - PFF stands for Punch, Fight and F--K! But if you can stand the obscenities and constant talk about drugs, sex and death in a country style, then theres a lot to enjoy on Damn Right, Rebel Proud, Hank III's fourth album. The songs become a little repetitive, particularly lyrically. Theres only so many times you can go on about fighting and drinking.
For those of you who know a bit about country music - and not just Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks - will know that the Williams family tree has extended through grandfather Hank Williams - father Hank Williams Jr and now Hank III. Hank III bears a much more vocal similarity to Hank Williams than Dad Jr, it's almost a whiney effect that takes quite a while to get into.
Its not an album you can just dip into either and it certainly isn't 'easy' listening, as much as an Anthrax albums isn't easy listening. Its harsh, violent and right to the bone. Totally unforgiving - but also brilliantly put together. Original, but then its almost a mish mash of whats come before - trying to explain the album is almost impossible!
There are some excellent songs on Damn Right, Rebel Proud. Chiefly among them is the heartfelt 'I Wish I Knew' and the Hank Jr riff of 'Workin' Man'.
Theres also plenty of songs that are just there to shock. 'Candidate For Suicide' is a prime example, a song that talks about being raped at the age of eight and being a lying cheating whore. One of the more controversial songs is the album's opener - 'The Grand Old Opry' which berates the country music tradition of Nashville. The Opry itself is kind of like a music hall of fame for country stars - at one point they didn't even allow drums in country music! The Opry have kept his grandfather out of their hallowed halls for many years because of his bad reputation, something that Hank III can't forgive.
Damn Right, Rebel Proud isn't an album that many people will like, let alone give it time to sink into the brain and absorb. Its really grew on me this week and I really enjoyed its no nonsense approach and grisly lyrics.
Hank III is well worth a listen, even if you aren't into country music. If you do, you'll enjoy the sheer spectacle of something a little different.
1. "The Grand Ole Opry (Ain't So Grand)" -- 2:35
2. "Wild & Free" -- 2:58
3. "Me & My Friends" -- 3:12
4. "Six Pack of Beer" -- 2:32
5. "I Wish I Knew" -- 3:30
6. "If You Can't Help Your Own" -- 3:32
7. "Candidate for Suicide" -- 3:41
8. "H8 Line" -- 3:12
9. "Long Hauls & Close Calls" -- 2:43
10. "Stoned & Alone" -- 5:12
11. "P.F.F." -- 10:01
12. "3 Shades of Black" -- 4:18
13. "Workin' Man" (Bob Wayne) -- 3:01
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Grand Ole Opry
2 Wild & Free
3 Me & My Friends
4 Six Pack of Beer
5 I Wish I Knew
6 If You Can't Help Your Own
7 Candidate for Suicide
8 H8 Line
9 Long Hauls and Close Calls
10 Stoned & Alone
12 3 Shades of Black
13 Workin' Man