A fourth generation of the Hank Williams lineage will officially be crowned when IV and the Strange Band featuring Coleman Williams release their debut album Southern Circus on June 17th via the Black Country Rock label owned by Shooter Jennings. It’s quickly becoming one of the more anticipated releases of 2022.
As the great grandson of Hank Williams, grandson of Hank Jr., and the son of Hank Williams III, Coleman Williams decided to get into the family business at the age of 30. After first planning to release an EP on 4-20-2021, huge interest in the 4th generation performer had him pulling those plans, heading out on the road to refine his chops, and heading back into the studio for a more expanded effort, resulting in Southern Circus.
“Before I even knew who I was, people were already expecting things of me,” Coleman says in a statement. “It felt like there was zero freedom of expression for someone with the last name ‘Williams.’ Singing about a bloodline didn’t appeal to me, though. I wasn’t interested in fitting into a shadow that already existed. What did appeal to me was the underground scene in Nashville.”
And that’s what we’ve heard from IV and the Strange Band so far—a dour concoction of dark roots, mixed with a DIY punk and metal attitude, much music similar to his dad Hank3’s style of music than their predecessors, but still with those deep country roots intertwined within the sound. It may sound strange to some, but that’s what Coleman and the Strange Band is going for.
“I like to say, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stranger,'” says Williams. “I love strangeness and I love my Strange Band. The most genuine people in this world are those who allow themselves to be the weirdos they truly are, because once you repress yourself, that’s when you become someone you’re not.”
This sound has also allowed the band to tour with a disparate group, from Arkansas folk singer Willi Carlisle, to Eyehategod. Of course in country music, carrying a family name can be both your greatest asset, and your heaviest burden. But so far, Coleman has most certainly found a fan base in the “punk gone country” realm that his father carved out when first forming an underground in country music.
Southern Circus was produced by Jason Dietz who is also known as the bass player for the band The Hardin Draw, and has worked with former Hank3 bass player Joe Buck in the past. Along with guitarist David Talley also of the Hardin Draw, drummer Carson Kehrer, and banjoist Daniel Mason known for playing with Hank3, they make up the principle members of the Strange Band.
Fiddler Laura Beth Jewell and steel guitar player John Judkins also appear on the new album, and Jaime Wyatt appears on the album in a song called “Broken Pieces,” a song that Coleman says is based on “the idea someone can’t truly love you unless they know how fucked up you really are.”
Ahead of the new album IV and the Strange Band have released the single and video “Inbred” (see below)—inspired by the true-life story of the Fugates, who were a Kentucky family whose inbred history attracted the attention and anger of religious zealots during the 1800s.
Southern Circus is now available for pre-order.
Southern Circus Track List:
2. Cigarette Ends
4. Stand Your Ground
5. Southern Dispair
6. I’m Gonna Haunt You
7. Deep Down
9. Broken Pieces
10. Drinking Sad
11. Son of Sin