Hank Williams Jr. Cans Curb Records

CMT.com is reporting that perennial cash cow Hank Williams Jr. is planning to 86 Curb Records as his label. Hank Jr., who has been close personal friends with Mike Curb in the past and has been on the label for over 25 years, is leaving because he feels he is not being given the promotional and creative support he deserves after such a long and lucrative career.

Hank Jr. newest album 127 Rose Avenue, which refers to Hank Williams Sr.’s boyhood home in Georgiana, AL., will be his last record with Curb.

“You want to know the bottom line? This is my last album, and he’s (Mike Curb) history. . . We will move onward and upward, You just wait. We’ll have a lot to talk about. I’ve had some recording ideas that they didn’t care for. Well, there’s a lot of other labels that do care about it. …”

“We’re going to get off this old, dead sinking ship. (Ouch) . . They were going to [use] a picture of me from seven years ago when I was 25 pounds heavier. That was going to be the cover. It was ‘Ho hum,’ basically. Well, we didn’t ho-hum this one.”

Hank Williams Jr., joins an ever-increasing list of Curb artists tired of the label’s rigid restrictions and lack of support. Artists such as Hank Williams III, Tim McGraw, Leann Rimes, have come out publicly criticizing the label, with Hank III and McGraw both also vowing to leave the label once their contracts are fulfilled.

Say what you want about Hank Jr.’s music (are you ready for some football?), but he is one of the biggest selling country music artists ever, and him leaving Curb Records, especially for the reasons that he expressed without any minced words, can only land a huge blow to Curb, one of Nashville’s largest and most restrictive labels, and to the restrictive environment that a lot of major Nashville labels have been putting on the music and their artists.

I have always been a fan of Hank Jr.’s earlier work, but if you do not like what he’s been putting out lately, the restrictive environment he been working under at Curb could be at least a partial culprit for his lack of creativity.

This is HUGE people. HUGE! HUGE HUGE! When Hank Williams III was born there were two men in the room: Hank Jr. and Mike Curb. Curb and Jr.’s relationship over the years has been legendary, and extremely financially lucrative.

Sure, Hank Jr. will probably just sign on with another major Nashville label, but my guess is he won’t until he secures a significant amount of the creative control over his music. The fight for creative control over the music was the spark that started the first Outlaw country movement, and the underlying theme for the current Outlaw movement.

So I applaud Hank Jr. for taking this bold step, and can only be hopeful about the ramifications this move might cause.

Free Hank III