Hey Granddad, Meet the Bros!
Hank Williams is about as big a name as you can have. And when you’re the Third, it could be even harder to make your own name (literally). But not for Hank3, whose new triple album dropped this week on his own label, Hank3 Record. It includes the double country album Brothers of the 4×4, and the hardcore punk with a twist album A Fiendish Threat (reviewed here). Indeed, Hank3 has spent his entire career separating himself from Senior and Junior musically, including stints in country, punk, metal and many subgenres of each. His style is as varied as the number of instruments he has mastered; however, Brothers of the 4×4 is a tribute to his unmatchable roots in country music.
Hank3, in his family’s tradition, has sought his own rebellious path to success. He started out playing drums in punk and rock before finally succumbing to the draw of Nashville. Not finding satisfaction there, he has spent the last decade creating music that defies genres and labels. But Brothers of the 4×4 rebels against the rebel, returning directly to the country sound of his father and grandfather. Solid drums, banjo, strings and upright bass with steel guitar dominate this album in a traditional country setup. There are straight up fast country numbers like “Held Up,” “Hurtin for Certain,” and the title track, which could all be Hank Jr. tunes. But Hank3’s simple, back-country crawl makes these songs and their lyrics his own. “Farthest Away” might be one of the best of the album, with a great instrumental hook between guitar and fiddle, and lyrics of failure in that old sad country song.
Hank keeps on trucking through much of this album, as if he’s trying to put himself back together again on tracks like “Deep Scars.” “Loners 4 Life” is as Senior-esque as it gets and shows off Hank3’s vocal bass range.
Listeners looking for good old ’40s and ’50s style country music will indeed have a giddy-up-ing good time and a tear in their beer listening to Brothers of the 4×4. His mastery of the genre and instrumentation may be unparalleled, and while his vocal virtuosity may not live up to the first two Hanks, much is made up with his ingenuity and his sheer joy in music making.