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Dallas Morning News

Hank Williams III
at Southern Junction Nightclub and Steakhouse
5574 Hwy 276
Rockwall, TX 75087

When: Mar 10 Fri 10:30pm

About the event

He has his granddaddy's twang and his father's attitude. But Hank Williams III – born Shelton Hank Williams and heir to the Hank Williams legacy – is paving his own path.

That's no easy task.

"I've wrestled with it,'' says the son of Hank Williams Jr. about his pedigree. "You have the good and the bad with Hank Jr. and Hank Sr. I get the 'You'll never be as good as your daddy' comments. I'm not ashamed of it. I will never want to get too far because that's my family. But Hank III isn't this little country boy.''

Whew! He's not kidding. Before Mr. Williams recorded the stinging country CD "Risin' Outlaw" (his solo debut for Curb Records), he spent most of his days in punk-rock bands. He played drums in his first band when he was just 15 years old. At 16, he was a member of Buzzkill. He then played bass in a group called Bedwetter. Later came Whipping Post, where he was guitarist and "screamer.''

"It was aggressive music, real hard-driven stuff,'' he says. "I did that for as long as I could.''

Then, he got serious. The Nashville-based Mr. Williams found a manager and decided country music was his true calling. Meeting Texas country stalwarts Wayne "The Train'' Hancock and Dale Watson changed his artistic outlook.

"Hanging out with them, they really opened my eyes to a vision,'' says the 26-year-old. "Get the respect of Texas more than the respect of Tennessee. It fueled a whole new love for the kind of music Nashville hates and radio doesn't care for, either.''

"Risin' Outlaw" is filled with cuts you'll never hear on your mainstream country dial. From the uncompromising opening number, "I Don't Know,'' to the grit-and-twang cover of Mr. Hancock's "87 Southbound,'' "Risin' Outlaw" is stone country for the honky-tonk set.

But Mr. Williams all but disowns the record.

"If this album is going to be called "Risin' Outlaw," it has to be raw, and it's not,'' he says. "It's a little slick. They [Curb Records executives] didn't get behind me on what I wanted to create with this album. But that's all right. I definitely have more ideas on what is going to happen on my next album. It's probably going to be the fight of the century.''

You can bet he'll win – one way or the other. Mr. Williams, who makes his Billy Bob's Texas debut Friday, Nov. 19, will continue to play his hard-driving country. He's written more than 50 songs, some with titles we can't print in a family newspaper. And he's upfront about his raucous stage shows.

"I like to pick, and I let my guys have at it. We do a lot of Wayne [Hancock] songs, a lot of my songs, maybe two or three Hank Williams songs. And if I get hounded too much, I might do 'Family Tradition.' But you're not coming to see Hank Williams. You're coming to see Hank III.''

Published in The Dallas Morning News: 11.19.99

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