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Today is the release date of Hank Williams III’s album Rebel Within. This is his sixth and final album with label Curb Records, meaning that he is now a free man, finally done after a 14 year battle with Curb over creative control and timely release of his music.
And Hank III isn’t the only one from the most famous bloodline in country music that is jumping ship. Hank Williams Jr. announced he was leaving Curb Records last July, saying:
“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…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.”
When Hank Williams III was born, there were two men in the room: Hank Jr. and Mike Curb. Mike Curb wrote Hank Jr.’s first #1 hit in 1970, All For The Love of Sunshine. After Hank Jr. fell off Mt. Ajax in Montana 1975, an accident that took him two years to recover from, he returned to music with his current “southern rock” approach on the Curb Records label, and after over a quarter century partnership, has become Curb’s biggest selling artist of all time.
Hank III signed to Curb after being served papers in 1998 for owing $60,000 in back child support from a one night stand three years before. A judge told Hank III who at the time was playing drums in a punk band for $100 a night to “get a real job.” Hank III’s version of a real job was going down to Music Row and signing with Curb.
At that point Mike Curb had a monopoly on the most famous name in country music, and maybe in American music period. But years of attempting to exude heavy handed control over the music and image of the country music’s royal family has left Curb Records as a footnote in that legacy instead of a current day power player, and Hank Jr.’s 40+ year friendship in shambles.
Hank III has expressed his desire to become an independent artist now that he is done with Curb, but has left open the idea of returning to a label in the future if it makes sense from a business standpoint. And as Hank Jr. said, “…Well, there’s a lot of other labels that do care.” My guess is the line will be long and strong and form to the left of labels willing to pick up the Hank Williams lineage that Curb’s short-sightedness has squandered; a short-sightedness that seems pervasive with Music Row’s major labels as we work into the second decade of the 21st Century.
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This website grew out of an organization called Free Hank III. This day marks the end of that organization, though really the battle was won when Curb announced the release date of Hank III’s previous album Damn Right, Rebel Proud, and Curb Records had a “change of heart,” that was illustrated in the lightning fast release of Rebel Within.
I want to thank ALL the supporters and fans of Hank III for making this day possible, and let’s remember this victory. This is one battle in the war of the people to take back their music. If any of the other battles ever feel hopeless, just remember this victory, of how we stood together, and the grass roots rose up and effected action on a grand scale. We can only celebrate for so long, because there is so much more work to do.
I’m going to have a lot to say about this record, but the upshot is that its damn good. It is an improvement from Hank III’s last offering Damn Right, Rebel Proud. It may not be his best album, or the album of the year, but considering all the different factors Hank had to juggle when making it, he hit just about as close to the bulls-eye as anyone could expect.
Hank has been in a 14-year battle with his label Curb Records, and while making this album he had to ask himself, “Do I make it with his best material available, and hand the rights of those top-notch songs over to my mortal enemy so they can continue to fill their filthy coffers even after I leave?” He’s publicly said that once he’s done with Curb (which happens after this album release), he wants to be independent, mainly because he wants to reserve all his music rights.
But if he puts out a dud, he jeopardizes the loyalty of his famously loyal fan base. Hank has to keep his fan’s attention to proceed without label support. And that’s another issue: the fans.
EVERYBODY seems to have an opinion about what Hank III should be doing with his music. He cut his teeth as a neo-traditionalist, but his album Straight to Hell, considered his masterpiece, created an influx of punk and metal fans into the Hank III fan base, and into country music in general. Now the traditionalists and metalheads are going 9 rounds over what direction they think Hank III’s music should go, and Hank III has gone from being the most revered man in underground country to being one of the most polarizing.
And EVERYONE wants to compare any new Hank III album to his previous ones. Hank III might have started this trend, famously saying “Damn Right, Rebel Proud ain’t shit compared to Straight to Hell,” a message still on his MySpace page. But is every Willie album compared to Red Headed Stranger? Can’t we judge subsequent albums, good or bad, on their own merit?
Somehow, someway, with all these balls in the air, Hank III has figured out how to strike a balance between warring forces, and not forget that the way for him to make the best album possible is to listen to his heart.
The Rebel Within has those traditional country elements that his country fans crave, and a little of the metal edge to keep red meat in the bellies of the folks in black. And it does so fairly seamlessly. It doesn’t feel like “oh here’s another metal country song,” the album just flows. There’s some new sounds here too, new for Hank III, and new, period.
This album is Hank III settling into a sort of early Hank Jr., late Waylon, Johnny Paycheck-esque “hard” country style. He’s not reinventing the wheel; he already did that once, and if he does it again it might as well be when the Curb leech is off his ass. He doesn’t wow you with his songwriting, though it does have it moments. This is more of a party album, even more than his previous two.
The standout tracks for me were “Lookin’ for a Mountain,” “Karmageddon,” and “Tore Up & Loud.” Many people are calling the first the “Waylon Song,” and yes it has that identifiable two note bass line. But it also opens up a new theme for Hank. He’s always said he prefers the simple life, cutting the grass and running the dogs, and this song delves into the yearning for simplicity we all have.
“Karmageddon” is one of the “new sounds.” It comes across as plain weird at first, but multiple listens reveal its genius. Down the road we might look back at this song as a hint of the direction Hank III goes post-Curb. “Tore Up & Loud,” is just Hank III doing what made Hank III famous, but unlike some of the “hellraising” songs of Damn Right, Rebel Proud, this one works. The production isn’t overdone, and the heavy metal elements blend with the country elements smoothly. This is Hank III. This blend is his contribution to country music.
In some ways, this album made me judge Damn Right, Rebel Proud even more harshly. I’ve always said it was an album of good songs buried with poor production, a sentiment Hank III has asserted himself. But again, let’s look at this album on its own merit. The production of Rebel Within is clean and balanced. It’s more country, but not in a way that usurps Hank III’s country/metal blend. Simply put, the album works.
Some will complain that the drinking songs are too much. I agree that Hank should open up some new song themes in the future, though he starts down this path in this album. But Hank III reinvigorated the ‘hellraising” attitude in country. One of the reasons it seems overused is because Hank inspired an army of copycats who can’t craft an original idea, throwing out “whiskey,devil, cocaine” references with no direction or purpose.
My least favorite song is the title track, with the “screams” feeling out of place and dragging down an otherwise good song.
If handed this album and told to grade it, I would give it a B+. But knowing the challenges facing Hank III in making it, I give him an A.
It seems everyone wants to criticize Hank III, second guess him, pontificate of how he should live his life and what direction his music should go. I’d like to see those people try to fill the biggest boots ever handed down in country music while fighting off a malevolent music label. I say just enjoy the music, that is what it is there for. And if you can’t, leave it.
But don’t forget who brought you back into country music after years of disappointment from the mainstream. Don’t forget who introduced you to country music when you were listening to who knows what kind of filth. Don’t forget who introduced you to Wayne Hancock and Dale Watson, and a slew of other musicians who have changed the very complexion of your life, brought you countless joy, helped you through endless sorrow. Don’t forget who made you feel hope that maybe everything in country music isn’t lost. Don’t forget who introduced you to countless other fans who now feel like family. Don’t forget who made the music that was there for you when nobody and nothing else was.
If it wasn’t for Hank III, I wouldn’t be here. If it wasn’t for Hank III, YOU wouldn’t be here. Hank III created all of this: this genre, this scene, this website, your interest, everything. We may not even be able to agree what to call this music, but we can all agree to call Hank III the king of it, and always will be, whether he puts out another country album or not.
You can listen to all the tracks of Rebel Within in their entirety by CLICKING HERE.
The best place to purchase or pre-order ANY album is through your local record store. But if you can’t, you can pre-order the album through Amazon by CLICKING HERE.
Note: Long time artist for Hank III Keith Neltner, who did his last two album covers did NOT do the cover art for this project.
Also for everyone hoping that now Hank III is free we might see a double disc dump of some of the best country music we’ve ever heard, don’t hold your breath. Sure, Hank III probably put some songs in the can until Curb was in the rear view, but we might not see another pure country project for years. Hank has a lot to sort out, and anyone who thinks they know what is coming up is high.
In a couple of recent interviews, one on Episode 66 of Outlaw Radio and another posted recently on YouTube (see below) Hank Williams III seems almost to be discounting his new upcoming album, The Rebel Within before it even comes out.
He mentions that it is a good album, but he also goes out of his way to say it is not as good as Straight to Hell, how the creative juices are not flowing under the ultra-combative control of his record label Curb Records, and that he doesn’t want to give Curb anything “too good,” because any songs he releases while still under Curb contract will still remain the property of Curb even when he leaves.
Hank III’s personal MySpace page still says, “ANd il tell ya the way it is Damn Right and Rebel Proud aint Shit Compared to Straight To Hell!”, discounting his last release as well. I can only imagine all of this talk must drive his management crazy.
So my question for you is, what do you think when an artists comes out and plays down a release before it even comes out? Do you appreciate the honesty, and does it make the artist more real and accessible? Or do you think it is an unhealthy practice?
Hank III will never make another Straight to Hell because that album encapsulated a space in time that will no longer exist again, and was groundbreaking in a way very few albums could ever achieve. In the latest YouTube video, Hank III gives credit for his loyal fan base to giving his music away in the form of letting fans tape shows. Is his honestly with his fan base, telling it like it is with no spin, another reason for the rabid loyalty of Hank III fans?
To learn more about the fight between Ronnie Milsap and Capitol Records Nashville, click here.
A lot of people have been curious why I championed the fight of Ronnie Milsap against Capitol Records, from my core readers to Milsap fans. Normally I cover artists here that nobody else does, and this doesn’t really pertain to Milsap. The truth is this story touched a nerve with me because of the the themes and history at the very core of Saving Country Music. So I thought I would explain in detail why this is, and at the same time hopefully impart some hope to Ronnie Milsap and Bleve Music.
When Bleve decided to refuse to comply with the court’s “cease and decist” order, they posted a picture of a small kid taking on a Sumo wrestler. It was going to be a David and Goliath fight no doubt, but like Bleve said, sometimes you have to take a stand.
But this is not the first time a small independently-minded entity has taken on a major Nashville label in recent memory. In 2004, the grandson of Hank Williams, Hank Williams III took on the label Curb Records after they would not release his album, originally entitled Thrown Out of the Bar. Legally, Curb did not have a leg to stand on. They just did not want to put out the album. So Hank III fought them in court, and in the court of public opinion.
Hank III started a campaign with the name “Curb” preceded by an unsavory four letter word. There were T-Shirts and bumper stickers. Hank III even wrote it on his guitar. Curb held defiant, until a judge ruled in favor of Hank III in the Spring of 2005, and the album now entitled Straight to Hell, was officially released. David had slayed Goliath. Well, sort of.
A concession Hank III had to make to get the album released was that he could not publicly slander Curb Records anymore. Now Curb had Hank III where they wanted him, because when his next album, Damn Right, Rebel Proud was set to be released, they played the same delay game they had played with Straight to Hell, and Hank III was unable to say anything about it.
What Curb had not banked on was the loyal and active nature of the Hank III fan base. Saving Country Music grew out of an organization called Free Hank III. Since Hank III had been stripped of his freedom of speech, his fans spoke for him, putting pressure on Curb to release the album.
The movement culminated when hundreds of Free Hank III supporters started calling Curb Records and tying up their phone lines, demanding that Curb give the album a released date. Coincidentally, this was the same day Hank III and his management were meeting with Curb executives to try to end the standoff. A few days later Curb decided to release Damn Right, Rebel Proud, which they did in October of 2008.
Since the very beginning of the Free Hank III fight, I had this sentence in the verbage of the site:
“Hank III’s fight is not just about country music. You may not like country music or you may not like Hank III’s music, but his fight is the same fight artists of all walks are fighting for creative control of their art. Weather you are a musician, painter, writer, sculptor, whatever, Hank III’s fight is your fight, and he serves as an inspiration to us all.
You could say the same about Ronnie Milsap, or any artist, it doesn’t matter. And the fact that Ronnie Milsap’s song and Bleve Music are trying to benefit charitable organizations makes their fight even more righteous, and the irony of Capitol Records Nashville’s stance even more thick.
I never thought that I would have police officers commenting and reading my articles. I’ve had a few firefighters as readers almost since day 1. I joke that a lot of my core readers could populate America’s Most Wanted. In truth I love them all, and judge nobody, and try to respect everyone’s opinion. But the reason my readership is so diverse is because the themes behind the fight are so true and eternal. Back in the 70′s they called Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings “Outlaws,” not because they were outside of the law of the land (well, not all the time) but because they were outside of the control of the intrusive Nashville entities, entities just like Curb and Capitol.
Artists should have the right to do what they want with their art, and the big companies that control music should respect the artist and the fans first, and then concern themselves with the money interests. We all have to make money, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But when the desire for money clouds moral judgment and begins to affect people’s lives in adverse ways, we all must take a stand, no matter what flavor the cause might be.
Some may think that we take this fight to save country music too seriously, and sometimes I wonder about that myself. But this is just one element in the larger fight across our way of life, fighting the homogenization of our culture, and fighting for the freedom of expression and art in general. Some may decide to take the fight up for farms or jobs or politics, etc. We have just chosen country music, because it is something we believe in. It is simple and something we cherish.
That is why I have chosen to stand behind Ronnie Milsap and Bleve Records, and because of my Free Hank III experience, why I have hope that if we stand together, what is right will prevail.
According to Curb Record’s New Releases page, all three of Hank III’s albums prior to Damn Right, Rebel Proud are going to be released on vinyl on April 18! There are also a couple of Hank Jr. albums to be released on vinyl. We first heard about this on an interview Hank III did with Big G.
Yes vinyl albums are cool to display, but us lovers of vinyl music will swear that the music sounds better without all the digital compressing, regardless of the occasional spit and crackle. What albums I’ve been able to find on vinyl, I record them digitally and then dump them on my music player with as little compression as possible, so you have the great sound of vinyl with the convenience of digital.
I think that in the coming months and years you are going to be seeing more and more vinyl records. People appreciate their sound, and it is a creative way for record labels to continue to sell music that is not just a digital download.
I’ll be keeping my eye on when these releases become available for pre-order and let you know! I’ll be picking up all three.
There’s a TON (100+) great pictures of the Hank III show in Lubbock, TX on Spotted Lubbock for you to oogle at.
There are also some pictures, videos, and commentary about Hank III’s show in Lubbock, TX on Christophe’s blog. Lots of YouTube videos from the country, Hellbilly, and Assjack sets. Good stuff!
I was floored yesterday when I learned that Rachel Brooke is pairing up with none other than Lonesome Wyatt of Those Poor Bastards to make a new album! The name of the album is going to be “A Bitter Harvest,” and they are planning for it to be available in May on CD and vinyl.
I can’t begin to express what a tizzy I am in over the idea of this album. Right now this is my most anticipated album for 2009, and I don’t think I have been this excited about an album since Damn Right, Rebel Proud. My long time readers know that I have an incurable crush on Rachel Brooke, and though I would’ve never anticipated this, the idea of her teaming up with Lonesome Wyatt somehow makes perfect sense.
This is not the first time Rachel has collaborated with other artists. You can check her out with Rachel & Junk , and she also appeared on the .357 String Band’s latest album, Fire & Hail. Rachel has an astounding voice and she’s a good songwriter as well, but she could sing about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and STILL move you with the way she conveys an underlying pain in sorrow in all of her lyrics. It doesn’t hurt that she’s just ridiculously gorgeous as well.
Lonesome Wyatt and Those Poor Bastards have been on the cutting edge of formulating the new gothic country sound, and broke into the national consciousness when Hank III covered their song “Pills I Took” on Straight to Hell. The production of their songs is astounding, and that is what has me the most excited about the partnership with Rachel Brooke.
Apparently the album is mostly done, they are just working out the production kinks. I hope to have an interview with Rachel as the release date gets closer to find out the skinny on how this collaboration came together.
And of course you can check out Lonesome Wyatt and Those Poor Bastards opening up for Hank III on his tour that is starting in just a couple of weeks.
TONIGHT (Tue 1/13) on Outlaw Radio at punkandbeansradio.com , the great Roger Alan Wade will be interviewed LIVE, 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific.
If you don’t know, Roger Allan Wade is the cousin of “Jackass” nut Johnny Knoxville, and has written songs for Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Hank Williams Jr, and others. He also released the album All Likkered Up on Johnny Knoxville Records in 2005.
Also if you CLICK HERE you can see the video for Wade’s “The First Time I Saw Waylon,” which was directed by Johnny Knoxville, and includes never before seen footage of Waylon.
I’m not going to say I’m a huge Roger Alan Wade fan, but he’s definitely a character and a funny and good songwriter, so I’ll be tuning in tonight for sure.
PS: Johnny Knoxville has also been involved in projects with Jesco White, and is friends with Hank III.
Also in Podcasting News:
Yep, that’s Bob Wayne, and the It Burns When I Pee Podacst has announced he will be the guest for Episode 23, “Carnies are a Girls Best Friend.”
They will also be doing a live vidcast of the taping of the show THIS THURSDAY (1-15) that you can watch live and even participate in through the magic of the chatroom at the IBWIP UStream Channel. You might even see me hanging around the chatroom, you never know.
I’ll tell you, the last few months it seems like the Bob Wayne news has been coming hard and heavy. First the duet with Hank III on Damn Right, Rebel Proud, then a European Tour, then he got his music online. This might be the year we see ol’ Bob take the next step in the underground country music scene.
Allright, so this is my list of my top album releases of 2008. I’m only one human, so I can only purchase and listen to so much music. So if there’s something I’m missing or if you want to put your own list together, pony up in the comments section.
Fire & Hail
This is it people. This is the one album in my humble opinion that is a must have from 2008. This follow up album to their first release Ghost Town is about as good as it gets. It is one of the most important bluegrass albums to come out in decades if you ask me.
In a time when hippie newgrass pseudo folk bands control the genre, this album is straight forward REAL bluegrass. The .357 String Band has done to bluegrass what Hank III did for country. These are top notch musicians and excellent songwriters in the essence of their craft. This album also saw the emergence of Joe Huber as one of the best bluegrass songwriters I’ve heard. I put these boys up with the greats of bluegrass music like Bill Monroe and Jimmy Martin, no kidding.
Damn Right, Rebel Proud
Detractors, get over it. This is no Straight to Hell but is soon as you get over that you’ll discover this is a great album with great songs, and is a must have in your music collection. “Stoned and Alone” is a masterpiece, “Long Hauls Close Calls” is the best song ever written by Hank III, and there’s a slew of other sing alongs that grow on you the more you listen.
Sorry, I got no link to where you can buy or download this puppy, so you’ll have to wait until Bob Wayne and the Outlaw Carnies come to terrorize your town and belly up to the merch table.
But it’ll be well worth it, because Bob Wayne is a madman live, and is THE BEST songwriter of the Underground/Outlaw country movement, hands down.
I also want to shoehorn a mention here that I saw Bob Wayne play on Saturday, and man, what a show. Better than the first time I saw him, which I wrote about HERE. I also got to meet one of my readers that was on board literally in the first week I started, and a fellow fighter with the pen, and the mastermind behind Devil Cool Magazine .
At Folsom Prison Legacy Edition
This 2 CD with a DVD set is the proverbial motherload for any Johnny Cash fan. All the classics, and new songs, covers, and commentary. The DVD is a documentary about his legendary Folsom Prison show in 1968.
There’s a great trailer you can watch about it by CLICKING HERE.
Recognize that song ???
Satan is Watching
You know if Those Poor Bastards are going to put out an album, I’m on it like a duck on a June bug. As the Kings of Gothic Country, this is a band that is accessible to a lot of people who may not be into traditional country. Really they’re as similar to someone like Tom Waits as Johnny Cash or Hank Williams.
And hey, they’re touring with Hank III this Spring.
Hank Williams: The Unreleased Recordings (Mother’s Best) is no replacement if you can get your hands on the bootleg copies, but there’s a lot of great vintage music there.
Also Justin Townes Earle put out his first CD this year, The Good Life through Bloodshot Records (same label as Wayne “The Train” Hancock and others) that didn’t wow me, but it had some good songs, and a great vintage tone that I like.
Also I know Split Lip Rayfield put out a new CD that I haven’t heard yet in full.
So that’s my picks. What do you think?
Check it out:
Props to Hank III’s bass player Zach Shedd and Free Hank III lieutenant Allison for helping to sniff these bad boys out.
Allison also recorded this one from a recent show at Layla’s Bluegrass Inn in Trashville:
Like I say, I normally wouldn’t obsess over new videos like this, but the Fuel TV stuff is amazing quality and should really be great as promotion tools for Shelton. I also had a couple of keen observations from these videos:
1. The great Shawn McWilliams is playing the same Gretsch Catalina Club pearl finish drum set I play. Okay, maybe this shit is only interesting to me, but whatever.
2. Hank III’s voice sounds great!
In my dumb opinion, his voice sounds better than it has in a long while. I think it sounds better than it does on some of the cuts of Damn Right, Rebel Proud.
For all of those wondering what he’s been doing the last year since he’s not been touring, one of the major things he’s been doing is rehabbing the voice, and it seems like it has been working for him. You have to understand, this is Shelton’s curse. He was told when he was younger he would never be able to do what he’s doing because the way his pipes are rigged. He’s done some amazing things with these limitations, and hopefully he learns to live with his limitations better moving forward.
Anyway, makes me glad to see him out there playing again, and that everything sounds good.
No. 2 Nielson Top Current Country Albums
No. 18 Nielson Total Top Current Albums
20,000 Albums sold JUST THIS WEEK !
Man, what can I say? This thing may be groundbreaking. I’ve always said that if Hank III even had a little promotion behind him he would see dramatically more success. That is why I mentioned promotion in the freehank3.org Mission Statement. Now, the hope is Country DJ’s see this and start giving his stuff some play, and with numbers like this, if they still don’t, then without question the fix is in.
Maybe Curb Records has something to do with all of the reviews and interviews and exposure Hank III has enjoyed on this album launch, but at some point Shelton changed his management people, and without question the job these people are doing is making all the difference. And I also am inclined to give all of us, the grass roots, some credit for this too.
One Hank III Hellbilly is better in loyalty and action than ten generic pop country fans. So when you take that into consideration and look at these numbers, they become even more staggering.
Yes, Straight to Hell might be a better or more significant album, but Damn Right, Rebel Proud might be the one that puts Shelton on the map, and makes him a legitimate player in the realm of country music. And I’m not just talking shit.
The Bitch of DRRP (more interviews):
There’s a couple more Hank III interviews that have surfaced. There’s one from LA Weekly you can read by CLICKING HERE .
But the one I want to focus on, and one of the BEST interviews I’ve ever read with him is from Jambase.
There’s a ton of great info in it, but it explained something I know a lot of you are wondering about: THE BITCH.
If you look in the liner notes of DRRP, you will see that it says the record was produced by “A BITCH.” What this is in reference to is a person who was involved in the recording process. I have been unable to determine at this point if this was someone Shelton hired, or someone that Curb Records hired or insisted on being part of the process, but Hank III speaks in detail about this in the interview.
“I think Straight to Hell  was a better record than this one. It was a lot smoother; a lot better tricks are going on. Here, the creativity was not going on, I didn’t have the right guys working with me on this one. That’s kind of the summation of how I’m feeling about it.”
So, what do you mean about “the right guys”?
“Not the musicians. It’s the people in the behind the scenes process of it that were not quite there. For a prime example, you don’t fucking start coming off drugs when you’re going to start working with me; that’s nothing but problems. You’re setting yourself up for a disaster. Other personal issues that are fucking with them, they bring that with them into our session and it just turns into a pissing match,” says Williams. “Like I’m going to ask you to make an effect [he demonstrates] and you’re going to take 45-minutes to make that effect. Riiiight. It’s called Pro Tools, you’re supposed to be a wizard at it, not fucking retarded and slow and just pissing me off. If you’re not going to work with me, just cancel the day. Don’t make me sit here for five fucking hours to get two fucking delays out of you. That’s a little bit of the insight into the behind the scenes tediousness of being in a room with a guy who’s not on the same page with you day after day, trying to have a pissing match with you. I mean, that’s pretty much what happened on the whole record. Not the players, but the other folks who have to make it go down. It can get to you. Sometimes it’s fun and laid back and sometimes it’s a grind and just a bummer, because you’re trying to get creative, not have your creativity blocked. That’s a bit of a buzzkill when that happens.”
Just as a note, I wrote about Pro Tools in THIS BLOG , and as I said in the comments (on MySpace) , Pro Tools is not the problem, it is the people who use it to make people with no talent sound good.
Again in this article Hank III voices his disappointment in this album, and he seems to blame a lot of his issues on “THE BITCH.” If “The BITCH” was somebody that Shelton hired and it didn’t work out, then whatever. But if it was someone Curb Records insisted be part of the recording process, well then that is a whole other thing entirely, and I do not think it is a stretch to say that the recording process for DRRP was accidentally or maybe purposely torpedoed by Curb.
As I’ve said before, I think the songs themselves on DRRP are great, and overall I think it is a good album. But if I have any issues with it, they are in the ‘production,’ meaning the actual recording, and maybe some of the arranging and overdubbing used in the songs. It is hard to fault Hank III for these issues since now we know about “THE BITCH.”
He also talks more candidly about Curb than he has in a while:
” Damn Right is yet another skirmish. The parental advisory sticker and release on Curb subsidiary label Sidewalk are, according to Williams, “Curb’s way of not standing behind me. It’s like how the last record was on Bruc Records, this one is on Sidewalk. That’s just their way of not supporting me or not being proud of what I do. That’s just their way of not saying, ‘Yes, we are Curb Records and we stand behind this guy and are not ashamed to work with him.’”
Some stuff going on today and the coming days for the release of Hank III’s Damn Right, Rebel Proud so in no creative fashion I’ll run it all down for anybody who is interested.
–Hank III will have an exclusive interview tonight on Outlaw Radio at 9 PM Central Time. To listen CLICK HERE and then look in the right column for the right media type to listen.
–He’s also going to be on a LA radio program tomorrow morning I know, but I can’t find the dern link anywhere, so if you got it, pony up in the comments section for everyone. I have NOT heard any more about him making a TV appearance, but as soon as I hear something I’ll let everyone know.
– If you ordered the vinyl LP version of Damn Right, Rebel Proud it may be a while before you receive it. From what I’m hearing from a lot of different sources is that the demand was way higher than they expected, and the LP is back ordered already. And if you’re looking for the LP version, save your gas because your local record store or Best Buy will likely not have it yet. And just to clarify, the LP also comes with the DRRP CD also.
–For all of those wondering about a DVD coming with DRRP, maybe one with the footage people were asked to send in, well apparently it ain’t coming out with the CD, and I’m not getting any sort of firm answer from anyone when we can expect it. But of course, as soon as I hear something, I’ll clue everyone in.
Damn Right, Rebel Proud is not the only CD to be released today:
The great goth country band Creech Holler released their second album The Shovel and the Gun today. Hopefully I’ll get a copy in my grubby little hands here soon and give you a review. If you’ve never heard of Creech Holler before but you like Those Poor Bastards, you should give these guys a try.
“I want to walk down the street someday and see young people coming here, writing good songs, proud to be here again. When I first came here, a lot of people were proud to be here. It was a good feeling. It gave you pride. You didn’t give a shit whether the rest of the world liked you or not. And we were the underdogs and the niggers of the music business. Our music was the least respected of popular music, but we had our pride among ourselves. It was like a family suddenly going sour, and I want to have that same pride again. The public can sense–an individual can sense–when something is real and when it isn’t. The people know.
“When we started, people thought we were going to destroy Nashville. Who wants to destroy Nashville? It’s a long way from my mind. But if a guy can’t offer a good, decent alternative, he should shut the fuck up. But if he’s got a good, decent alternative, all he’s got to do is keep doing it, and pretty soon the whole fucking industry will be doing it, because there are too few people in this town that know what the fuck to do. Because they don’t love it; they’re doing it for the fucking salary.”
Who is this quote from?
Hank III ?
Waylon Jennings ?
Tompall Glaser ?
Jason Ringenberg from Jason and the Scorchers ?
Does it even really matter ?
We’re sitting here on the eve of the release of Hank III’s new album Damn Right, Rebel Proud. In fact some people who pre-ordered it already have it, and some have found stores that released it early. This is a pretty big victory, but this is just a small battle in the war.
Right now our culture and music is for sale to the highest bidder. The music of the South and the West, and the poor and the country dwellers has been robbed to entertain urban hipsters and teenage suburbanites. I’m so happy and proud that all of us have been able to make an impact however small, but I can’t help but feel like there is so much more to do.
And I also can’t help feeling like the tide is turning. Nashville has tested the limits of how much ‘pop’ the country music genre can handle, and now they’ve crossed the line. But you see rock n’ rollers and metal heads getting into REAL country. You see punk kids getting into bluegrass. You see teenagers listening to Hank Williams instead of their local Clear Channel Top 40 Country station.
Country music, or at least the genre that used to be defined by that term, has been hijacked by pop. And because of this, the voice of the country, the voice of the people has found and will continue to find new places to be heard.
Folk is the new Rock ‘n Roll.
Country is the new Heavy Metal.
Bluegrass is the new Punk.
Don’t believe me? Just wait. You will see.
Tompall Glaser is whose responsible for that quote above. He made it in the 70′s. But can’t you see Hank III saying that same thing today?
And it’s true; just like Tompall said we don’t want to ‘destroy’ Nashville, just like we don’t want to destroy the Grand Ole Opry for not Reinstating Hank Williams. We love the Opry more than the people who are doing everything they can to run it into the ground.
We want to kick the money whores out, and take back our music and the institutions that we love.
Yes, we will revel in the sweet victory of Damn Right, Rebel Proud for the moment. But not for too long, because there’s so much work to do.
Nashville, take heed. We are on the march.
You can listen to all of Hank III’s new album (including some annoying clicks) at Damn Right, Rebel Proud Amazon Listening Party.
There’s also some new III pics HERE.
SPIN Damn Right, Rebel Proud Review.
If you want to see this filth for yourself, CLICK HERE. But this is the “review”:
“Four albums in, Bocephus’ boy continues to pretend that the Williams family tradition can make up for his inability to carry a tune. Damn Right Rebel Proud, typically, raises less convincing hell than plenty of current mainstream Nashville product. Muffled train chugs and minor-key gloom make him tolerable in psychobilly mode, and his class-consciousness means well. But from stiff-assed slam dances to meandering hangover slog to interminable GG Allin homage, Hank III’s shtick is no more captivating than your average nasty drunk’s.”
First off, I know that SPIN has a reputation for writing bad reviews and starting controversy to draw attention to itself. SPIN was immortalized in ‘Guns & Roses’ Get In The Ring for just such behavior. But this shit is over the top, and smacks of a hidden agenda. So let’s get the knife out and dissect this festering roadkill of a ‘review’ (and I use that term lightly):
“Four albums in, Bocephus’ boy continues to pretend that the Williams family tradition can make up for his inability to carry a tune.”
There are things that you can be critical about when it comes to Hank III’s music, but saying that he can’t carry a tune is not one of them, and you can ask any singer that. This is a canned criticism that you make when you want to criticize country music but are too much of a fucknut to know how to do it properly, creatively, or constructively. It also smacks of a hidden agenda.
“Damn Right Rebel Proud, typically, raises less convincing hell than plenty of current mainstream Nashville product.”
Who in the hell does SPIN have writing their reviews? A trained money that they asked to write this review on the floor of his cage with his own feces??? This moron doesn’t even know how to use the English language! And are you really going to try to convince me that Hank III raises less hell then ‘plenty’ of mainstream Nashville? ARE YOU REALLY MAKING THAT CLAIM ?!? Do you not understand that STH was the FIRST major Nashville album to carry an Explicit Lyric tag, and has been the only one to carry that tag since? This is just outright uninformed bullshit.
“Muffled train chugs and minor-key gloom make him tolerable in psychobilly mode, and his class-consciousness means well.”
A transparent attempt from this asshole to act like he’s impartial. I could see through this with a cardboard pair of X-ray glasses I got in a cereal box 20 years ago.
“But from stiff-assed slam dances to meandering hangover slog to interminable GG Allin homage, Hank III’s shtick is no more captivating than your average nasty drunk’s.”
Well, this ape finally proves that he can write a sentence, but instead of offering any truthful, thought-out, or constructive criticism, he descends into spiteful name calling to be cute and tries to include references to all the songs on the album in a muddled way to hide the fact that he barely listened to it.
Who in the hell are these fucking people who write these reviews?
Oh, and that SPIN website accepts comments, so if you have the time, go over there and tell them what you think.
I’m going to come right out and say it. No wait, I’m not. I’ll have Hank III say it:
“ANd il tell ya the way it is Damn Right and Rebel Proud aint Shit Compared to Straight To Hell!”
That’s a quote from III’s personal MySpace page. And I agree with it. But Gad Dammit, I fought for this album with more sweat and effort than most of you can probably imagine. All of our efforts at Free Hank III may have not made much difference in the end, but III never had any question that the fight and the music was worth it, and that his fans and friends had his back all the way.
This SPIN review may not be the first criticism of DRRP you’ve seen, and it might not be the last. And I hope that all of you appreciate that I have been honest about my feelings about that album since I first started hearing stuff from it. And honestly, no, it is no Straight to Hell but its got some damn good songs on it and it is from one of my favorite artists, and as soon as I get my double LP copy in my own two hands next Tuesday I’ll be happy as hell, and rebel proud.
The other day, a little birdie flew up to me a whispered this in my ear:
“All of this great push for this album (Damn Right Rebel Proud) has come from the people who really care and love the music here on MYSPACE. This in turn has made it possible for III not to be dependent on Curb’s advertising dollar, which comes out of III’s pocket in the end. It has all been noticed and greatly appreciated.”
What this means for you my fellow members of Free Hank III is that all of our hard work, all of our posting and reposting of messages and banners, all of our efforts to spread the word about Hank III’s music, even these stupid blogs, have had a SIGNIFICANT impact on Hank III’s success and exposure!
What this stems from is the tremendous amount of pre-orders that have been flooding in for Damn Right, Rebel Proud and the Hank III Collector’s Edition. This has shown companies, especially Best Buy, that this album release is significant, and that Hank III has one of the most loyal and rabid fan bases out there.
That is why Best Buy is putting an ad for DRRP in their Upcoming Circular.
Also, if you go to THIS BEST BUY PAGE you can see that DRRP is featured under the ‘pre-order’ field. See if Curb spends money on advertising, what they sometimes do is charge the artist for that in the end, taking the ad dollars out of their royalties. What happened here is because there has been such a huge pre-order demand for DRRP, they have been able to get exposure without paying anybody. Bust Buy is glad to make the album prominent, because they see the demand for it!
So if you’ve been wondering if the effort you’ve been putting out through Free Hank III has made any difference, however big or small your effort has been, well then the answer is a resounding . . .
Also, if you haven’t heard, MySpace has just done a huge partnership with Amazon.com to form ‘MySpace Music.’ You can read more about it by CLICKING HERE, but long story short, this is going to make MySpace an even more significant destination for music lovers, seekers, and buyers, and potentially give even more exposure to what we are doing here for Hank and Hank. So keep helping me try to spread the word, cause we still got a long train ride ahead of us!
Speaking of, check out this spanking new video from JB Beverly & the Wayward Drifters:
Today is the release day for the Hank Williams III 3 CD Collector’s Edition Tin. This set includes all of Hank III’s previously released material.
If you already have Hank III’s 3 previous albums, there’s still a reason to but this above the cool tin the CD’s come in: This edition has all the songs on the second album of Straight to Hell cut into separate tracks, so you can listen to all of these songs without having to listen to all the ambient noise in between, or fast forwarding through it.
Some people prefer the slower, mellow Hank III stuff that was found predominately on the first two albums, and some of those people felt disappointed with the edgier Straight to Hell . But that album DID have the slower, trimmed down stuff on the second CD. Now those people and all of us have the option of listening to these songs individually, OR listening to those songs in the context of one long track as they were originally published.
50 Million People to See Hank III !!
Or maybe more, really.
The word has come down that Hank III’s Damn Right, Rebel Proud will be in October 19th’s Bust Buy Circular that reaches 50 million households. If you live anywhere near where Best Buy’s are, you’ve surely seen these things. Some of you may not think this is a big deal, but you have to understand, ‘Average Joe 6-pack’ out there in OshKosh HAS NEVER EVEN HEARD OF HANK III, let alone his music. Just the name recognition could be HUGE! And this is by far the biggest promotion Hank III has ever had for his music, at least for what I’ve seen.
And I am going to step out on a limb here and give all of us here involved with Free Hank III partial credit for making this happen. The pre-order sales of Damn Right, Rebel Proud and the Collector’s Edition have been tremendous, and like I said in THIS BLOG, labels, retailers, radio stations, etc. use pre-order sales to gauge how popular an album is likely to be before it comes out, and how much promotion to throw behind it.
So good work people. And if you haven’t pre-ordered your copy of Damn Right, Rebel Proud yet, scamper on over to Amazon and get that done.
They’ve also been playing tracks from DRRP on both XM & Sirius satellite, as well as some some radio station across the country. There’s also rumors of more reviews of DRRP coming out soon, and more interviews with Hank III, so I will keep you posted on these.
Shotgun Willie on TV:
This morning Willie is (or was) on The Early Show on CBS, this evening he’ll be on the Late Show with Conan O’Brien , and on Friday he’ll be on The Colbert Report. Check your local listings. Void where prohibited. Refrigerate after opening. All that stuff.
Willie is far from giving up the ghost, and though he’s ignored by pop country radio of course, he one of the most respected men in ALL of music, even by brothers, and continues to stay relevant. From his most recent album:
So I need some opinions from you people.
I’m thinking about running the savingcountrymusic.com flag up the MySpace flagpole here.
This is the thinking: even Hank III acknowledged in his promo video for Damn Right, Rebel Proud that Curb Records had to have guts to put the album out. Curb is working with him now, at least to some extent. I don’t want to be the old soldier who doesn’t know when to stop the fight. No, freehank3.org is not going anywhere until Hank III is completely free of Curb Records, and it may not go anywhere ever. This just involves the MySpace site.
Since it became clear that Damn Right, Rebel Proud was truly going to be released and all thins promo stuff has been released for it, I’ve seen my friend requests fall to a trickle. I want to keep this thing growing. I don’t want to limit myself to talking to people who are already fans of Hank III, I want to reach out to the people who are not, but are looking for good and REAL country music.
I want to turn my attention from Curb Records to help promoting Hank III’s music, trying to get it played on the radio, etc. I also want to focus on getting the word about Reinstating Hank Williams to the Grand Ole Opry, and to promoting all of these underground/outlaw country music artists working their ass off out there and putting out great music.
Mike Curb was a worthy adversary, and I mean that. I don’t like the guy, but I’ve respected him this whole time. And out of respect for him and Hank III to some extent, I don’t want to keep fighting with the already vanquished.
There’s also this thing inside of me that just feels weird using someone else’s name. Nobody has claimed I’m exploiting his name, and it would be hard to do so, but still.
So I want to hear from you people about what you think. I’ve said this whole time, I’m not Free Hank III, we all are. So really this is all of our decisions.
And if Curb Records ever fell back into their old patterns, well you can be damned sure I’d be ready to bring the pain once again.
That’s right, Waylon Jennings is going to release a new album!!!
“”Waylon Forever,” billed as the final recordings from outlaw legend Waylon Jennings, will be released Oct. 21 on Vagrant Records, Billboard.com can reveal.
The eight-song set features remakes of Waylon classics, surprising covers and a new Jennings original, all backed by the artist’s son Shooter and his band the 357′s.
The elder Jennings died in 2002, but the recording of these songs began more than 12 years ago (when Shooter was 16) at a pool-house home studio in Arizona, with vocals cut in Nashville. In 2006, Shooter and the 357′s recorded more backing tracks at producer and bandmember Dave Cobb’s studio in Los Angeles.
“It wasn’t like it’s some mysterious story about some unfinished album that was in some closet for 10 years,” Shooter tells Billboard.com between bites of a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich at the Providence, R.I., airport. “We finished the album the best that we could when I was 16. We had all the intentions in the world to get it out there and get a record deal with it.”
The album features relatively faithful, if edgier, renditions of Jennings standards like Neil Young’s “Are You Ready for the Country,” Rodney Crowell’s “Ain’t Livin’ Long Like This,” and Jennings’ own “Waymore’s Blues”; a stirring ballad reworking of “Outlaw Sh*t” (previously released as “Don’t You Think This Outlaw Bit’s Done Got Out of Hand”), a cover of Cream’s “White Room,” as well as the never-released, Waylon-penned “I Found the Body.”
“When nothing happened [the recordings] kind of just disappeared, and about two years ago Dave my producer and [girlfriend] Drea [De Matteo] both were like, ‘You’ve got to do something with that’,” Jennings says. “Thank you to modern technology. It doesn’t sound like we dug up some vocals that had always been there and we had to do magic to make it sound new. It’s all about bringing my musical side of everything I do around him and creating this completely different but acceptable space that he fits in.”
Shooter’s most recent album, “The Wolf,” was released last October by Universal South. He comes off the road in September and says he’ll begin work on a new record in October on a label to be determined.
“It’s gonna be a pretty wild record. It’s not going to be the normal record by any means,” Jennings says. “If they didn’t play me before on country radio, they’re really not gonna play me now.”
Here’s The Track List:
“Jack of Diamonds”
“Ain’t Livin’ Long Like This”
“Are You Ready for the Country?”
“Lonesome, On’ry and Mean”
“I Found the Body”
I could not find it for pre-sale anywhere online yet, but I’ll keep you posted. man, my music weenie is standing attention for this fo sho.
Cut & Pasted from hank3.com:
The most interesting part to me was when he actually gave Curb Records credit for releasing the album with ‘The Grand Ole Opry’ song on it. I don’t think this is pandering. I also give credit to Curb. This takes huge balls on Curb’s part, even though legally they may have not had any choice.
Also if you haven’t seen it yet, the Hank III band MySpace page has a new layout, and there are songs off the new album you can give a listen to or add to your MySpace profile. They’ve also been playing Damn Right, Rebel Proud tracks on satellite radio and some local radio stations. Meanwhile DRRP and the Hank III Collector’s Tin are 5 & 6 on Amazon’s country pre-order chart. I know some of you would like to see it 1 & 2, but this ain’t bad at all for an underground artist whose getting little promotion for his music that isn’t self-produced.
Sorry I’m a little late with this info guys, but I’m doing all this pro bono, and sometimes other things in life get in the way.
First off, everyone should go and check out Cathy’s Blog about how you can print off an official copy of the Reinstate Hank petition to sign. Thanks to Johnny Wright Jr. for doing a lot of the work on this, and also Blake Judd & Keith Neltner. I’m gonna get that on savingcountrymusic.com as soon as I get a chance.
Speaking of savingcountrymusic.com, I’ve now got two images on my page that you can just copy and paste the code to and ad them to your site. I’m waiting until the site is completely done before I really start pushing it, but this is a way you can help me start spreading the word.
Oh, and if anyone knows the person that did the middle finger tower, let me know. I nabbed it off someone’s site at some point, and I want to ask for formal permission to use it.
Listen to Damn Right, Rebel Proud + Hank III’s Comments.
If you want to listen to listen to some samples of DRRP, you can go to Tower Records, scroll down a bit, and check ‘em out.
Some of you are going ape shit over this comment off of Hank III’s personal site:“ANd il tell ya the way it is Damn Right and Rebel Proud aint Shit Compared to Straight To Hell!”
But I’ll tell you, this is the wisdom and truth of Shelton, if there ever was a shining example.
First off, of course DRRP is no Straight to Hell. That album was a masterpiece, a mad opus, and it changed the face of country music forever, even though country music hasn’t woken up to that fact yet. Nothing can measure up against a masterpiece, that’s why it’s a masterpiece.
I fought my ass off, we all fought our asses off to get DRRP released, and the whole time I knew it was going to have to dwell in STH’s shadow. But that’s DRRP’s biggest problem, that it’s not Straight to Hell, but that’s where the problems stop. Hank III is not Hank Jr. or Sr., he is Shelton Hank Williams III, and he should be judged on his own merits, and so should Damn Right, Rebel Proud.
You don’t have to like every song on the album, you just have to understand its place. And ironically, just like STH, DRRP is not going to have that ‘fresh’ feeling when you first listen to it, because a lot of the songs you’ve already heard live or on YouTubes. This is Curb’s fault.
I’ve written a FAIR, HONEST review of DRRP that I will share soon, and there are some criticisms in there, but overall it’s a great album with good songs.
I commend Shelton for saying what he’s saying, because he understands. But moreover, what other major label country artist is going to come out and say that their stuff that is about to come out is not better than their older material? See, this is why we love Shelton. Because he’s real. This authenticity, and lack of concern about the business end of the thing is why he’s got the most loyal fan base in modern music.
If Damn Right, Rebel Proud had come out first, IT would’ve been the album to change country music forever.
When I get my copy of Damn Right, Rebel Proud I’m going to listen to that bad boy until I run it into the ground. And then I’ll wait for his next album, and hope that he changes country music all over again, because we all know that’s what Shelton Hank Williams III is capable of doing. And if it doesn’t, I’ll listen to it anyway.
The muddin’ version of ‘Long Hauls and Close Calls’
Yep that’s none other than Shelton Hank III and Hank Jr. hanging out with none other than Jesco White.
Here’s the scoop:
“Recently, a meeting of the outlaws took place in Paris TN for the filming of “The Wild and Wonderful Whites”. White family friend and Producer Storm Taylor has teamed up with Director Julien Nitzburg (The Wild World of Hasil Atkins) to make a documentary about the legendary Jesco White and his family. “We have been following the family for about a year now. As you can imagine…It has been quiet a ride. I felt that that there was absolutely no way that we could truly complete this project without the support and music from Hank 3″ said Storm Taylor in a recent interview. After a few months of planning, Hank III had a brief afternoon entertaining the cast and crew at his Nashville home. He then took the crew to a more rural setting….as Hank Jr. played host to what can be called a ‘once in a lifetime’ weekend. “Just imagine a cabin, some beer, a pig roast, 4 wheelers, a pond, Hank III, Hank Jr, and Jesco White all rolled up into a big Hellbilly weekend ball…unimagineable” Storm said.”
“‘The Wild and Wonderful Whites’ is scheduled to be released in early 09′ for MTV Films. The documentary will feature a wide variety of music, including local West Virginia artists….and Hank III (of course).
“For updates on additional filming and information about “The Wild and Wonderful Whites” please visit Storm’s Myspace.”
Make sure to go to hank3.com and check it out, because there are additional pictures of Hank Jr., Hank III, and Jesco, including pictures with Keith Neltner and Blake Judd.
I’ve also heard from numerous people that Hank III and Jr. have been hanging out and hunting together recently, so it seems like everything seems to be patched up, whatever was unpatched to begin with, and this is VERY good news.
SOME OTHER THINGS ABOUT DRRP:
1. It says it’s a double LP WITH the CD. It is correct that the LP DOES come with a full version of the CD too, but I believe it is only going to be one record.
2. A lot of people have asked me about the ‘AMENDED VERSION.’ DO NOT BUY IT !!!! This is the version with all the cussin’ taken out so they can sell it at Wal-Mart.
New Keith Neltner Video !
That song is from Those Poor Bastards
Metal farms first magazine is devoted to the Reinstate Hank Williams campaign. Their release party is next Monday in Cincinnati, so if you’re from that area, check out their website for details.
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