There is something to be said for bloodlines, something powerfully suggested about heritage. First there was Hank, originator of the arguably most important repertoire of one mans song in modern country music and progenitor of a legend. Then came Bocephus – Hank Jr. – keeper of the flame and seminal young Turk in that day or rowdy, hard-stompin, Southern country – rock that is still his trademark.
Now comes the surprising revelation of the next generation as the curb Record Group presents 25 year old Shelton Hank Williams – Hank III – son of Bocephus, grandson of Hank Sr. and the redoubtable Miss Audrey, and a hard-rock and country singin son of a gun in his own right. Hank IIIs lanky frame and the unmistakable thin lines and angularity of his face remind many fans of his famous grandfather.
It seems fitting that Hank III should make his country music recording debut in tandem with the forbearers of the Williams legacy. With producer and Curb A&R Vice President Chuck Howard at the helm, the studio magic of advance digital recording techniques joins Hank III and his dad, Hank Jr., with Hank Williams a trio album titled "Men With Broken Hearts". Set for mid September release, the album also introduces Hank III as a solo artist with a pair of classic, original Hank Williams songs "Moanin The Blues" and "Neath a Cold Gary Tomb of Stone".
"I played my first show with my dad when I was 10 years old," the laconic, soft-spoken Hank III explains. "Not a whole show, but I played a couple of songs at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. Ive always done two or three appearances a year with him."
Hank III at a young age was very bit as rebellious as his father and his fathers father before him. Throughout his teen years he sang, played drums, bass, and guitar in a series of hard rock banks, playing all over the Southeast, "as far as fifty bucks and van could get us". He might have stayed there but for the intercession by Ted Turners TBS cable network. In early 1995, when TBS was beginning work on its critically acclaimed "Roots Of Country Music" documentary series, someone had the notion to connect the three generations of Hanks for a specially created video event similar to the award winning Hank Sr./Hank Jr. "Tear In My Beer" video. When Chuck Howard and Hank Jr.s manager, Merle Kilgore, heard the three Hanks singing in the finished audio tape, they threw caution – and TBS – to the wind and committed Curb Records to what may be the trio album project of the decade.
Hank III honed his Williams sound by doing 50 consecutive shows at the White River Theater in Branson, Missouri. Under the watchful eye of veteran Mel Tillis, Hank III paid tribute to his famous grandfather with two shows a day, then came back to Nashville to plow his own furrow.
Hank III draws on his own true working class and rural simpatico from his upbringing amongst his mother s farming family, the Yeargains of Jane, Missouri, population 500. "My mother was always there, coaching me along, supporting me in whatever I tried to do in music, and shes the big reason why Im here today," he admits.
"I just like real hard country music that sort of punches you in the face. I dont like pretty boy stuff," Hank III says. "Mel Tillis says, hes raw around the edges, but thats what make him unique." I like for it to be raw.
He knows hell always be tied to his grandfathers legacy, always be pulling with it and against it, just like his father. Its an obligation as well as an opportunity for a young man who wants to do well as the juncture mostly for his mothers sake, as did his father before him at the beginning of his own life time career.