|Photo by: Amazon|
Key Tracks: "I'm a Long Gone Daddy," "This Ain't Montgomery," "If the Shoe Fits"
Living up to your father’s legacy is never an easy task. Just ask Hank Williams Jr. But living up to your father’s legacy and grandfather’s legacy is even harder. Just ask Hank Williams III. Hank Williams Sr., a pioneer of country music and a legendary singer-songwriter, recorded 35 songs that appeared on the Billboard Country (& Western) Top 10 Best Seller’s Chart before his sudden death on New Year’s Day in 1953.
Hank Williams, Jr., son of “the Hillbilly Shakespeare,” started his career in country music at a young age before transitioning to the southern rock genre in hopes of differentiating his music from that of his late father. “Junior” went on to win numerous country music awards and recorded the well-known, long-used theme song for Monday Night Football.
Hank Williams III continued the family business, singing and playing guitar on his first studio album before the age of 17. Williams III stuck to his country roots but blended elements of punk-rock and heavy metal into his music, and is responsible for the first major-label country release to render a parental advisory warning from the RIAA.
His 11th studio album Long Gone Daddy returns to William III’s country roots. The title is a reference to his grandfather’s hit song of the same name, that is covered on the album.
The album’s vintage sound oozes character. If listeners close their eyes while playing the album, they will be transported back to a time of jukeboxes and malt shops or dingy hole-in-the-wall honky-tonks with chicken wire separating the stage from the crowd for the performers’ own protection.
The retro-sounding album is a breath of fresh air in today's overproduced, computerized music market. While still sonically pleasing, Long Gone Daddy is rough around the edges at times and about as bare bones as listeners will hear in today’s popular music scene.
The album itself isn’t exactly groundbreaking or moving but the thoughtfulness of the music is something to be respected and admired.
On the album's first track, “I’m a Long Gone Daddy,” Hank Williams III sounds eerily like his famous grandfather, who wrote and performed the song in 1948. Five additional covers join “I’m a Long Gone Daddy” on the album, in addition to songs taken from the cutting room floor of earlier Williams III albums.
In “This Ain’t Montgomery,” Williams sings a tribute to his grandfather acknowledging that he knows he lives in the shadow of his grandfather's fame with the line “Well, this ain’t Montgomery / And I ain’t Hank Williams no how.”
“What They Want Me to Be” and “If the Shoe Fits” might see some country chart success. Sounding more modern than the rest of the album, those songs could resonate more with younger listeners.
Country fans should get a kick out of Hank Williams III’s newest album Long Gone Daddy but the mainstream success will be minimal. It’s an album to have in the car to listen to during a long trip, not a collection of songs that will immediately be pulled out at a get-together or to show friends.
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