Shelton “Hank” Williams III, now and forever to be known as just Hank3, has just done what few recording artists have ever done before regardless of their musical genre. On September 6th, Hank III released three new records (4 recordings in all) on his own Hank3 Records recording label. Ghost to a Ghost/Gutter Town, 3 Bar Ranch – Cattle Callin’ and Attention Deficit Domination.
Ghost to a Ghost/Gutter Town is a double-album of straight-shooting country selections flavored with Hank III’s trademark hellbilly sound and some fairly heavy Cajun influences as well. The majority of the material on this album was written by Hank III. Guest appearances on this record include the legendary Tom Waits chiming in on “Fadin Moon” and on the Ghost to a Ghost title track, Alan King of Hellstomper, Les Claypool of Primus fame, Dave Sherman, Troy Medlin and Hank3’s dog, Trooper.
3 Bar Ranch – Cattle Callin’ explores a new mind-bending “Cattle Core” sound featuring Hank3’s speed metal woven in and around actual cattle auctioneering.
Attention Deficit Domination is a straight up Doom/Stoner Rock record which is something that has been anticipated by his hardcore fans for many years now
All three projects were recorded at The Haunted Ranch which is Hank III’s home and studio that lies on the outskirts of Nashville.
Hank III is now out on the road in support of these new recordings and on this leg of the tour is hitting 22 cities starting with Atlanta GA. then finishing up in Denver, CO. on October 6th and from my own perspective, this was by far the most bizarre Hank III show that I have ever been to.
I’ve seen Hank III probably six or seven times now and the show typically is pleasurably predictable – an hour and fifteen minutes approximately of the Country & Western/Hellbilly stuff and then after a smoke and a bump or two the tight braid and jacked up straw hat falls to the wayside and the Assjack show kicks into high gear. Well not on this night and more than likely, not on any part of this entire 22 city tour.
The show started off fairly typical with the exception of no opening act and that is the status quo for this tour. Despite the show being billed as “An Evening with Hank III” with fans being encouraged to arrive and be ready for a punctual start, the show started about an half hour late and ran approximately three hours in length. Unlike previous Hank III shows though the intensity just wasn’t there for me. Hank usually comes out just wound up like a Tasmanian devil on homemade meth and rips through song after song with most songs being played noticeably faster.
Not this time though, to my ear it sounded as if he was playing every song “at tempo” and this just really threw me for a loop as well as leaving me feeling like someone had stolen my Hank Williams and substituted him with….I don’t know, somebody too lame to be playing Hank III songs or some shit like that.
To make things even more noticeably different from what most fans are accustomed to, his standard jacked up straw cowboy hat was gone and replaced with a smaller, short brimmed felt hat so…..WTF!?!?!
He opened up the September 8th show with Nighttime Ramblin’ Man, Trashville , Thrown Out of the Bar, Crazed Country Rebel, Mississippi Mud and Smoke & Wine. Also included in the Country set were the standards Six Pack of Beer, Hellbilly and Go Fuck You. Again, every one of these songs were played pretty much at the same tempo as they were recorded on their affiliated albums(i.e. at tempo) This had the show running at a very odd slow pace for me.
As far as the Houston show goes, the last half of the September 8th performance at Scout Bar was made up of selections from Attention Deficit Domination which has Hank playing all instrumental guitar with the drummer as the only accompanist and not the usual Assjack performance at least while I was there, anyway. I got bored shitless and decided I had about had my fill of this venue which was way too small for a Hank III show as well as my fill of beer and whiskey at Reliant Stadium prices. To quote the man himself: “Go Fuck You”
I’m happy for the guy, I really am. He left Curb records finally and can now fully express every side of himself musically and that’s a good thing. I just found this show to be a little bit low-key and definitely boring.
written by Scott Deaver