Hank Williams III Risin' Outlaw (Curb)

SXSW Records

Hank Williams III

Risin' Outlaw (Curb)

What a legacy to live up to. It'd be a tough row to hoe, being the youngest Hank and having to deal with the inevitable comparisons (good and bad). Well, this Hank has a little ways to go, but he acquits himself nicely on his debut, Risin' Outlaw. Williams III's king-sized debt to Wayne Hancock (a mutual debt, actually) is prominent here, with three Wayne the Train covers and effusive thank-yous to the Austinite honky-tonker. Interestingly, there's not a song on here written by Dad or Gramps; that would be taking the easy way out. The latter-day Hank bears a spooky, rawboned resemblance to his grandfather, and the disc's last track, "Blue Devil," finds him doing an uncanny echo of Hank Sr.'s lonesome hillbilly yowl. "Cocaine Blues" sticks close to the country standard, "If the Shoe Fits Wear It" calls to mind Grampa Williams' "Mind Your Own Business." Interestingly, the arrangements on this disc are much closer to traditional honky-tonk than the hammer-and-tongs rawk approach of his live shows, which feature Jesus Lizard guitarist Duane Denison in tow. Though the youngest Hank is still struggling to come into his own and establish his own identity, he's well on the way. Guess it's a family tradition. (Stubb's, Friday, March 17, 9pm)

***  

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