Hank III isn’t your grandpa’s country music


After 12 long years, Shelton Hank Williams, better known as Hank III, grandson of Hank Williams Sr., has kissed Curb Records goodbye and launched his own label, Hank3 Records, through which he will be releasing four new albums simultaneously come Sept. 6.

“It’s not just me, if you look at artists that make Curb Records probably $50 million, they have the same problems, where they just don’t respect the creativity and don’t respect the artists,” said Williams of his split with Curb. “And, if you’re someone like myself, who knows their sound, writes your own songs, mixes your own records, and records them and knows what your art should be, sometimes working with that type of label is not the best scenario.”

Submitted photo: Hank Williams III will be playing at the Sunshine Theater on Tuesday, Aug. 14.

Call it a “family tradition,” but Williams is not your cookie cutter country and western musician, something fans have probably been hip to since the beginning. But this has never been truer than on his four post-Curb career albums — “Ghost to a Ghost/Guttertown,” a double LP, “3 Bar Ranch Cattle Callin’” and “Attention Deficient Domination.”

He’ll be the first to admit that these albums, each one radically different in style and sound, are not for everybody, rather, one can deduct that these are the products of a true artist, a man looking for boundaries to push, cross and expand.

One could even go so far as to compare Williams’ current musical phase to the advent of Pablo Picasso’s cubism period — it might take a few years to catch on, and not everyone will want it on their wall, but dogon-it, it’s bound to leave a lasting impression.

“The rebel, outlaw thing has always just been a natural progression as far as just kind of doing something on your own two feet or just a little outside of the box,” says Williams. “I’m doing things to try to make my own musical history, and I don’t think it’s ever been done in the music business, for the main thing.

“People have released the same style of records, but having four released on the same day in multi-generas is something I don’t think has ever been done.”

On “Ghost to a Ghost/Guttertown,” which features the likes of Tom Waits, Williams says there are probably four songs he considers “pure country songs.” The rest, he says, are “a lot of creative avenues … I wanted to make a record that’s kind of hittin’ on all kinds of sounds, and highs and lows and dark and light and just different moods.”

“3 Bar Ranch,” is ground breaking in that it features auctioneers’ traditional chants over speed metal.

“I grew up with my grandfather, growing up in Missouri working on farms,” he said. “I used to go to the auctioneering barns and listen to the guys doing their chants and it’s basically a different way of singing.

“And reaching out, tracking all those folks down, and getting them involved was a challenge for me. And letting them know I’m not making fun of their industry, that I’m trying to pay respects to it, was a big deal also.”

On “Attention Deficient Domination,” he says he’s taking a break from playing fast and delving into some Sabbath inspired “doom rock.” As for his upcoming show on Tuesday, Aug. 14, at Sunshine Theatre in Albuquerque, he says he will be playing his usual three hour show, beginning with his country and hillbilly songs and ending with his heavier and more experimental sounds.

“Well, tradition to me is singin’ to the common workin’ man and the workin’ woman and tryin’ to keep it on their level,” he said. “So that means, for me, puttin’ on the longest show for the cheapest ticket price.

“So that’s my way of being rebellious in terms of doing the Jackal and Hyde show — I always do country first, payin’ respects and then at the end of the night, if you don’t want to stick around and hear the heavier stuff, you have the option to leave, or you can keep hangin’ in there.”

Williams also advises people to be on time and for women to not wear open-toed shoes.

Tickets are $20, on sale at www.holdmyticket.com.

-- Email the author at udavila@news-bulletin.com.