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Hank Williams III

Risin' Outlaw – 1999 (Curb)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Hank Williams III

On his debut, Hank Williams III might easily be confused with Wayne Hancock - not surprisingly since Hancock has often been compared to Hank, Sr. Williams makes no secret of his admiration for Hancock. He covers three Hancock tunes and praises Hancock in the liner notes as the "Country Hillbilly King."

It also seems clear that Williams identifies more musically with his grandfather than he does with his father, Hank Jr. The connection to Hank, Sr. is best displayed in "On My Own," a Williams III original ballad complete with yodel. Other standouts include Kostas' "Honky Tonk Girls" and the Bobby Edwards classic "You're the Reason." Johnny Cash's influence is also evident on "Cocaine Blues" and "I Don't Know." The weakest tracks are "What Did Love Ever Do To You" and "Devil's Daughter" which suffer from cliched hot country instrumentation and production. But even those are good songs on which Williams performs well.

Though comparisons are unavoidable, it is significant that the younger Williams chose not to cover any of his famous ancestors' songs. Hank III has given notice that he is ready to make his own contributions to the Williams legacy.