Don't look for any apologies on Damn Right Rebel Proud
, the upcoming sixth album from Hank Williams III
. Filled with a self-described "Jekyll and Hyde" mix of disturbingly dark stuff and "good ol' country," the straight-talkin' third-generation rebel's new album is set for release October 21 via Sidewalk Records.
The first single is the mutated truckers' tune "Long Hauls & Close Calls," for which a video has been shot. III thinks of it as the album's "crossover" track, explaining that "It's got a little bit of the scream for the kids in black and a little bit of the banjo and dobro for the country folks."
Damn Right Rebel Proud
follows the fierce and edgy Straight to Hell
(2006), which broke all the rules of country music while still managing to honor its traditions. "That was a big one for me, man," III says of STH
. "Rock kids that don't listen to country understood it. That record really had an impact."
The new album honors tradition here and there. "Wild & Free" has a rollicking, Buck Owens
flavor; "Me & My Friends" is "a standard, good ol' country song;" the populist anthem "If You Can't Help Your Own" addresses what's goin' on right now with the government;" and the closing "Workin' Man," a duet with the tune's author, writer/artist/construction worker Bob Wayne, sounds like an Alan Lomax field recording from the 1930s.
Recorded in HIII's east Tennessee home with friends over a two-week period, the album's magnum opus is the 10-minute, shitkickin' symphony in three movements "P.F.F." (you can guess what it stands for), which he describes as "a high-energy, get-drunk singalong." He dedicates it to archetypal shock rocker G.G. Allin (certainly a first on a Nashville album), who III understandably views as a spiritual brother in chaos. "The hobo kids, the train-hopping kids, they all love Hank Williams
and G.G. Allin," he points out. "And they've bled into our audience." III's crowd is a roiling mix of outsider subcultures, along with working folks and party-down college kids. "Most of the time everybody's gettin' along," he says. "Most of the trouble we've had has been with the security, not the kids. I'm still tryin' to keep one half happy and the other half satisfied by flip-floppin' the shows" between stone country, punk and metal sets. "We're just doin' what we're doin', and people see the realness in that."
There's some disturbingly dark stuff on here, like "3 Shades of Black," which climaxes with a bloodcurdling horror-core scream, and "Stoned & Alone," III's corrosive take on a cryin'-in-your-beer country ballad, aches like a hangover after a three-day bender. "My dad
's version of that song would be 'The Pressure Is On,'" he says. "I still live for the road; I don't live for a lady - I guess that's part of the problem."
But if you want really dark, check out "Candidate for Suicide." "All the things I'm talkin' about in that song - the rape, the drug abuse and feelin' on the outskirts of life, as G.G. would say - that's all true," he acknowledges. "But just because you're a candidate doesn't mean you're gonna go through with it. I've got no respect for anyone who tries to take the easy way out. Unless you can't take care of yourself or stuff like that, I'm always standin' for you to hold onto life as much as you can. There's a huge amount of depression out there, and that's really what the song's about. 'Candidate for Suicide' is dark, but it's not sayin' do it; it's just talkin' about how it crosses your mind a good bit."
-Also check out www.reinstatehank.org
and join III's fight to get his grandfather reinstated to the Grand Ole' Opry.