Doing Good Bayou
With over 30 songs across four albums, featuring such musical heavy weights as Tom Waits, Alan King, Les Claypool, Dave Sherman and Troy Medlin, it’s without a doubt that the latest releases by Hank Williams III amount to his most ambitious project to date. Guttertown is Williams’s seventh solo album and the second part of this four part project. Heavily steeped in Cajun influence, the album was recorded at Williams home studio, appropriately titled The Haunted Ranch. With Andy Gibson (steel guitar, banjo), David McElfresh (fiddle, mandolin), Zach Shedd (double bass), Daniel Mason (banjo) Johnny Hiland (guitar) Billy Contreras (fiddle) and Rory Hoffman (accordion), fans are immediately transported to the deep back bayous of the south.
Guttertown starts off with “Goin To Guttertown,” infusing the sounds of the swamp lands, an overly eager mixure of critters unknown to any city dweller, which sets the tone for the remainder of the 19 track album. Williams rotates through the tracks with a mixture of critter country sound effects and a backyard country hoedown complete with a strumming banjo, (strident) fiddle and an indombitable accordion with songs like “Mu Sha” and “Dyin Day” where you will catch yourself tappin’ your foot.
Williams throws in another level of sorts, as if taking cue from the studio itself. On “The Lowline,” it’s as if one is walking through a dark forest on the way to an agitated house or as if Williams is transfixed himself, as imaginative as it is disturbing to listen too. Yet in Williams’ fashion, the follow up song back to the lighthearted party vibe of the south, bringing your spirit back up.
Williams has remarkable acumen with music, creative layers of unimaginable possibilities. It might not be possible to top Guttertown, but there is no question that Williams will again outdo himself with anomalous and incomparable musical feats.