Hank Williams III
's forthcoming album Straight To Hell, complete with Parental Advisory sticker, is a 12-song thrill-ride into a life of sin. The album was produced by Hank himself, and made on a $400 Korg D-1600 digital recording apparatus -- a piece of equipment he feels every musician ought to own as it empowered him to record on his terms and schedule, and on a budget of next to nothing.
Speaking to why Straight to Hell is a two-CD set, Hank says, "We should have had ten albums out by now. I have so much music. Tape sticks around longer than I will, and I've got to put out as much music as I can."
Asked to describe the two discs, Hank explains, "one's done right, the other's done wrong." Which is to say that the first disc features "super pickers, the ones I can't afford to take on the road."
And the second disc? "It's just us -- me and my road band -- living it up, doing everything you're not supposed to do and having fun." The second disc is actually one long track that contains Hank's first-ever Hank Williams
cover ("I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You") along with a Wayne "The Train" Hancock
tune and some surprises. The disc is stripped down and spontaneous -- much like Hank III's legendary live shows -- in spots even a little psychedelic. "Put it this way," he says, "it's nothing at all like you see comin' out of Music Row."
Traditional country fans will appreciate the album's true-blue songwriting and lack of Nashville polish, and the hardcore hell-raisers will love the lonesome tales of too much drinking, broken hearts, outlaw ways, and that "certain kind of living" that makes Hank III one of a kind.
For more than ten years now Shelton Hank Williams III has been fighting the music industry to be his own man. Caught in the shadow of his legendary grandfather, Williams has fought long and hard to create his own sound and style, and to preserve the true outlaw spirit of real country music. His ever-evolving three-hour live shows pay respects to both his country roots, and the punk and metal influences that he has held true to since his teens.
Starting off his shows with over an hour of hardcore country music, Williams then cross-breeds the country influence with the rock influence in a set that he calls "Hellbilly". Listeners still get to hear the stand-up bass, the fiddle, and the stand-up steel guitar, but the addition of Hank's electric guitar and guttural screams add a powerful new dimension to the show. Finally concluding with the stripped down metal assault known as "Assjack," Williams' shows are fast and furious, lawless and unbridled.
Much like his grandfather and his father before him, Hank III is his own man. He doesn't care what expectations people have for him, and he will do it the way that he does it so long as he is alive.