Album: Damn Right, Rebel Proud
Artist: Hank Williams III
Hank Williams III, Hank 3, or simply 3. He has many names by which he goes, but only one mission, to reclaim country from the clutches of the establishment. While this is career that started as a court appointed job. He has been on this mission for a while and like any good artist is honing his skills with every release. This one finds him combing not only his love of country but adding more of his punk influences. The “Hellbilly” is in full affect.
3 pull’s no punches on this album. Foregoing the small slice of punk in is songs and going full boar. With the opening song, The Grand Ole Opry (Ain’t So Grand), you know right away this is not your father’s country music. He is never one to shy away from conflict and these songs prove it. The topics he speaks of are not the type that radio is all that comfortable with playing, especially Country radio. Butt whether it is about suicide or his ode to G.G. Allin, you never doubt his sincerity. His lyrics are basic. There are no hidden meaning his feelings are as raw as his music. None more so than 3 Shades of Black (a song that every metal fans should hear), just Hank 3 and his guitar. He has the ability to combine the vocal emotion and sound of his grandfather (the legendary father of Country Hank Williams Sr.) and the subject matter and fearlessness of his father. Anti-establishment is something a lot of artists aspire for. 3 has it running through his veins.
Musically this is a varied album. Songs ranging from slow country ballads to full on barnburners. He can make you cry with one and make you throw up the horns on the next. Most of the songs incorporate many of the standard instrumentation one would expect from true country. The production is clean and allowing each instrument to be heard. Whether banjo, steel guitar, or Dobro all are used to great affect. From the plucking of a stand up bass to the crying steel guitar, none over power the others but compliment each other in the mix. Allowing the listener to get a feeling for each instrument. These songs beg to be played live. Some even feeling as though when played live could lead to some interesting improvisation. While it is a Hank album he has never half assed it when it came to finding talented musicians for his band. This album is no exception, even enlisting the talents of Marty Stuart. Maybe the first sign that some in the establishment are with him on his mission.
While he may add punk and sprinkle some hard-core vocals in for affect, make no mistake these are Country songs. Made by the son and grandson of Country royalty. While some with that kind of family tree would be comfortable to rest on those credentials alone, Hank feels it his job to blaze his own path. He could easily play radio-friendly country and watch the dollars roll in. But instead is willing to risk it all and play his brand of country despite what others may say. Making his father proud, and you can be sure his grandfather, wherever he may be, is glad to see his grandson carrying on the family tradition.
Highlights: 3 Shades of Black, Workin’ Man, The Grand Ole Opry (Ain’t So Grand)