It’s gotta suck being the musician kid of a famous musician. On the one hand, you want to carve out your own identity for yourself; on the other hand, how you sing and how you play and even how your write songs is embedded in your DNA. Dhani Harrison can’t help sounding like his dad George no matter how much Radiohead he listens to and how many members of Wu-Tang Clan he collaborates with. Harper Simon, son of Paul, toiled in obscurity on various unsuccessful musical projects until his late thirties, when he finally said “Fuck it” and made a Simon & Garfunkel record. Heredity is destiny, or something like that.
So it’s kind of amazing that a guy like Hank3 exists. Hank3 is better known as Hank Williams III, grandson of the great Hank Williams and son of the not-so-great Hank Williams, Jr., that dude who sings the Monday Night Football theme. Any halfway sane offspring of that musical legacy would probably be on his third tour of duty with Celebrity Rehab by now. But happily, Hank3 is just the right kind of nuts to live it all down and do his own thing.
That thing, for years now, has been playing back-to-back sets every night of pickin’ and grinnin’ traditional, honky-tonk country, followed by a rip-your-face-off onslaught of punk, psychobilly and speed metal. Yes, Hank3 somehow manages to have it both ways. He honors the family legacy and extends an upraised middle finger to it, every night.
Because of the schizophrenic nature of his music, Hank3’s always been more than a little weird. But he really went off the deep end just recently with the release of 3 Bar Ranch Cattle Callin’, one of four different albums (well, technically three, because one was a double LP) he released on the same day earlier this month.
The other albums are all pretty much par for the Hank3 course. Ghost to a Ghost/Guttertown is a mix of trad country, the country/punk hybrid sound he calls “hellbilly,” and Hank’s swampy, spooky version of Cajun music. Attention Deficit Domination is a straight metal record, although it’s slower and sludgier than fans of Hank’s punk/metal band Assjack might expect.
Then there’s 3 Bar Ranch, which is a critter of a different color entirely. It’s an entire album’s worth of cattle auctioneers accompanied by speed metal. Hank3 calls it “cattlecore.” We call it…well, let’s just say the man famous for putting the “dick in Dixie” and the “cunt in country” really outdid himself this time.
- Hank3 official site
- Hank3 on Facebook
- Hank Williams III (Hank3) on MySpace
- Hank III/Assjack on MySpace
- Hank III YouTube channel