Hank Williams III CD review [Curb]

Music Reviews
Hank Williams III CD review [Curb]
Nov 28, 2006, 05:28


Hank Williams III finally finds his own legs on his latest, Straight to Hell. The grandson of the granddaddy of country music has amassed a schizophrenic and unfocused catalog over the past 10 years, with live shows that pay an uneven, bipolar bent toward punk-metal and old school honky-tonk.

On Straight to Hell the perpetually profane Williams executes a brilliant compromise. Peppered with pills, mushroom tea and fully realized fuck-you's to Nashville's Music Row—Hank's latest work embodies the defiance of punk, but dresses it up beautifully with expert country musicianship. Dobros, lightning-fast banjos and ballsy, bluesy fiddles make Hank's yelping songs of self-destruction seem satisfying, even admirable.

Whether he's “getting wasted with my country heroes” or explaining that he's “been up for four days so chop me out another line” it's apparent he finds inspiration in raising hell. Then again, so did his dad—and his dad.

“Pills I Took” starts with screeching tires and breaking glass and finishes with the steady huff of a hospital respirator. In between, Hank admits to all kinds of jittery, jacked-up behavior and to enjoying the hell out of it

Hank spent his twenties alternately embracing and rejecting his pure gold pedigree, but here he reconstructs his DNA on his own terms. Easily one of the most accomplished, irreverent and satisfying country records of the past five years. [Curb]

-Michael Coleman

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