A lot of you might already know this, but just to bring the new folks up to speed, Saving Country Music started as an organization of Hank Williams III fans called Free Hank III. In short, Free Hank III was started when III’s label Curb Records refused to release his last album Damn Right, Rebel Proud, after also holding up the album before that, Straight to Hell.
Whether you’re a fan of Hank III or not, major music labels taking advantage of artists is at the core of Saving Country Music. I’m not a big Ronnie Milsap fan, but when Capitol Records tried to stop him from releasing music I had no problems coming to his defense.
Well now Hank III has a new album on the horizon, named The Rebel Within, which is his last album with Curb before he can become an independent DIY artist as he has talked about doing. So a question I’ve been getting is, when is the new album set to be released? And when does Free Hank III need to get involved if Curb starts into it’s same dirty tricks?
There is no release date for the album yet, but Hank III turned in the artwork and masters for The Rebel Within on or around January 9th, according to an interview III did with Outlaw Radio (Episode 77) a few weeks back. On Outlaw Radio Episode 66, he said “It’s my last album with Curb so you never know, but I’ve heard through the grapevine that once I turn it in a clock will start ticking and they’ll have to let me go after 10, 11 months or something like that.” He also said on Outlaw EP 66 that he thought the album would be turned in by Nov. 1st, so obviously there was a hold up on Hank III’s part.
Nothing is for certain, but we may not see this album until the Fall or Winter of this year, if not later. We have to understand that it takes major labels many months to get an album from masters to store shelves, and this is no different with Hank III than it is for any other artist. What Free Hank III is concerned about is if they are taking an obviously longer amount of time than is necessary because of ulterior motives, like with his previous two albums.
Curb might also release a “Greatest Hits” album before they release the new material. That is what Curb did to Tim McGraw, and is a common stall move to squeeze as much money as possible out of an artist before releasing them.
If these things happen then it is out responsibility as Free Hank III members to be in full throat. And I’m happy to say that the bullhorn we have now is much bigger than it was 1 1/2 years ago.
For now I think we have to be fair with Curb and give them the time it normally takes to get a CD out. Hank III’s management said when a deal was struck for Damn Right, Rebel Proud that Mike Curb had a “change of heart,” and that we should lay off them. I think we should respect III’s management’s wishes until Curb gives us a reason not to.
Then it’s on like Donkey Kong.
Hank III has said that Mike Curb said to him “I just don’t know what to do with you,” so hopefully Mike Curb has stopped trying to mentor III by playing games with releasing his music, and decided that III is better left doing his own thing. Damn Right, Rebel Proud also charting #2 in the country charts upon its release also probably helped the Free Hank III cause.
So please stay in tune with Free Hank III. If you read on MySpace click “subscribe” in the upper left hand corner, or put savingcountrymusic.com in your RSS feed. And as soon as there is a release date, or a need to put pressure on Curb, I will make sure you are the first to know.
For more information on Free Hank III, go to freehank3.org.