Free of the constricting trappings of his former label Curb Records, Hank Williams III is wasting no time getting new product to his fans. "They didn't care for my thinking," says the artist, performing these days as Hank3.
Last week he officially busted loose, releasing not just one album but three: Ghost to Ghost/Gutter Town, a rebellious, swampy double album featuring Tom Waits; the doom-metal disc Attention Deficit Domination, to sate his legion of black-clad followers; and a third album, Cattle Callin', with Williams laying down punishing grindcore on top of the voices of cattle auctioneers.
Since hitting the music scene in his own right in the mid-'90s, the third Hank has been confounding and astounding an industry that fully expected him to be a carbon copy of his grandfather Hank Sr. and his father Hank Jr. In theory, mainstream country would have been happy to have an artist like Hank3 to shill as a Branson tribute act, with his grandfather's iconic looks and his daddy's distaste for authority.
Instead the punk and metal-influenced Williams has blazed his own rebel trail. He can do country, hellbilly, punk, doom and hardcore within the same extended set without batting an eye.
Thursday night Williams will be at Scout Bar in Clear Lake (no opener) unleashing his new music onto the masses, playing snatches of each new album — although the Cattle Callin' material is aided by samples, since those God-fearing auctioneers probably wouldn't want to tour with a tattooed, long-haired hellion playing heavy jams in defiance of the country hierarchy.
Williams has some advice for folks coming to his Scout Bar gig, or any Hank3 show for that matter: "No open-toed shoes."
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