There’s a new performer on the way, and he’s one that has a legitimate claim to arguably the most important bloodline in country music history. That’s right, the son of Hank Williams III is getting ready to emerge, and to do so under the moniker “IV.” And though all we have to work with at this point is snippets and snapshots, he appears to be taking after pops in more ways than one.
The 30-year-old from Nashville is not named Hank, but rather Coleman, and isn’t adopting the “Hank” name specifically, only the numeric “IV” as a fourth generation performer in the direct bloodline of Hank Williams as Hank’s great grandson.
“Four writes folk songs,” says his producer, Jason Dietz. “The band is responsible for turning them into something else. We try to keep an essence of their original form, while adding drums, 100 watt amps, fuzz bass and fiddle.”
Jason Dietz 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. Guitarist David Talley and fiddler Laura Beth Jewell also of The Hardin Draw are involved in bringing the project to life under what they’re calling “The Strange Band.” At the moment they plan to release a debut single from IV called “Son of Sin” on April 4th, with a debut EP coming April 20th.
The discovery of “IV” is one of the major reasons that Hank Williams III got involved in country music in the first place. Primarily playing in punk bands and installing garage doors for a living, Hank3 was hit with a paternity suit when Coleman was five-years-old, and told by a judge to “get a real job” to help pay child support. Hank3, who is now 48-years-old, had not known about Coleman prior to the paternity motion.
So to help pay child support, Hank3 signed with Curb Records, and emerged as a neotraditional country singer and songwriter in the vein of his grandfather, while playing in metal and punk bands on the side, and forming his own “Hellbilly” style of music. Hank3 released his magnum opus Straight to Hell in 2006, and fulfilled his contract with Curb in 2008 after a contentious relationship. He then went independent, releasing multiple records on his own. Hank3 has been mostly inactive since 2014 after his last tour.
Whenever talking about the Hank Williams bloodline, a bit of disambiguation is always necessary. Hank3 is Hank Williams Jr.’s son, and Coleman, a.k.a. “IV” is Hank3’s son. Hank Williams Jr. also has another son from a later marriage named Sam Williams, who is also a performer. Hank3 is the half brother of Sam, and of Hilary and Holly Williams, who are also performers.
Then there is the case of Ricky Fitzgerald, a.k.a. “Hank Williams IV,” who is also a performer and currently active, and who uses the Hank name on stage. He is the grandson of Lewis “Butch” Fitzgerald, who is the long-rumored supposed illegitimate son of Hank Williams. To take a deep dive into that complex story, CLICK HERE.
It’s also important to point out that Hank Sr.’s real name was Hiram King, which he changed to Hank, thinking it would be better for country music. The ‘Hank’ in Hank Jr. and Hank3’s name comes from their given middle name, not their first name: Randall Hank Williams and Shelton Hank Williams respectively. IV’s official last name is Finchum after his mother, since at birth he was not in the life of Hank 3. IV though says he’s planning to change his last name to Williams.
But just to underscore again, “IV” is not claiming the Hank name, even though hypothetically, he possibly could for the stage. Instead he’s keeping clear of any controversy that could come from it, while still laying claim to his legitimate standing in the Hank Williams lineage. At this point, Hank3 has not publicly acknowledged his son’s new endeavor, but the two are said to be in regular contact.
Though we don’t have any music from IV just yet, you can follow him on Instagram, where he’s posted some small clips and more photos. Though it’s hard to come any hard conclusions at this point, it does appear IV is leaning more towards a rough-and-tumble style of country similar to his father.