Right Back Into Hell
Following his most stunning album to date (2006’s double-disc Straight to Hell) Hank Williams III delivers another raucous tribute to the outlaw tradition, Damn Right, Rebel Proud. Minus excellent experiments like those found on the second disc of Straight to Hell, Damn Right, Rebel Proud is otherwise loaded with concise tunes that astonishingly feel familiar well beyond their years, like timeless classics on a favorite jukebox.If You Can’t Help Your Own, for instance, swings with carefree energy as Hank rails proudly against unhelpful family and comrades over plucky electric guitar improvisations. Harkening back to the freight train pace of STH‘s “Smoke & Wine,” “6 Pack of Beer” is a bounding, joyful monstrosity: “Well, workin’ real hard ain’t hard to do / When you got you a lot of money coming to you / Well, I ain’t got a dime so I’ll just sit here / Even though I’m broke I got a six pack of beer.”
The slower songs resonate just as strongly too. “H8 Line” meshes a vintage chugging tempo with sharply gated vocals. “I Wish I Knew” has a sullen sense of longing and “Stoned and Alone” a solemn acoustic guitar strum accompanied by beautiful pedal steel soloing.
Long-time concert favorite “Long Hauls and Close Calls” brings all of hisDamn Band’s elements together with precision, all wrapped in his trademark dark side of the South aesthetic. Bass player Joe Buck, pedal steel/dobro player Andy Gibson, fiddle player Adam McOwen and even Assjack screamer Gary Lindsey all gel in the maniacal call of “The Devil is My Friend.”
And if that wasn’t enough, the album’s closing trifecta of “P.F.F.,” “3 Shades of Black” and “Workin’ Man” surely send a knockout blow. “P.F.F.” (or “Punch Fight Fuck”) is a 10-minute behemoth paying homage to the late G.G. Allin. “Workin’ Man” is a duet with construction worker and friend Bob Wayne about the travails of earning an honest living and supporting a family. Meanwhile, “3 Shades of Black” is an epic ballad–perhaps III’s strongest song to date–supported by female vocals and screams from Lindsey, channeling unnerving spirit and grace. Perhaps bogged down only by improper ordering, Damn Right, Rebel Proud is fantastic, another chapter from a rare, true, evolving original.