Born: 1972 in Nashville, Tenn.
Sounds like: Somebody spiked a honky-tonk jukebox with well whiskey and plenty of prescription pills.
For fans of: Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr., Webb Pierce, Dwight Yoakam, Pantera, Alice in Chains, Butthole Surfers.
Latest release: On Sept. 6, Hank III flooded the market with four new discs on his own label: Ghost to a Ghost (classic country) is on a two-disc compilation with Gutter Town (Cajun/Tex-Mexperimental concept record); Cattle Callin is described as “cattle gore,” a baffling blend of speed metal and auctioneering; and Attention Deficit Disorder is a disc full of dated-sounding heavy rock and metal dedicated to late Alice in Chains frontman Layne Staley.
Why you care: Because this is America, and America is hung up on fathers and sons. Why else would Hank Williams III—a punk-rock drummer in his formative years—be hounded by Nashville labels until he finally recorded a Nat/Natalie Cole-esque compilation with his pops and grandfather (aside from the overdue child-support payments sort of forcing his hand)? Hank III’s first two full-length solo records, Risin’ Outlaw and Lovesick, Broke and Driftin’ (note the songwriter’s aversion to the letter “g”), both felt indebted to his grandfather, even if the tattooed Third took tried-and-true country themes of drinkin’ and ramblin’ to the extreme. Most of Williams’ subsequent work remains solid, if increasingly dark in content, and he has slowly but surely found his own identity by shaking the family tree and sometimes tearing it right out of the ground (see his metal outfit Assjack). Nowadays, Williams is a country frontman of the highest caliber who seems altogether bored by the genre. If he can channel his vast influences into one cohesive album next time out (instead of—ugh—releasing four records in one day), it’ll either be a masterpiece or a train wreck. At least he’s his own man.
SEE IT: Hank Williams III plays the Roseland Theater on Friday, Sept. 30. 8 pm. $20. All ages.