Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

Hank Williams III “Six Pack of Beer”

Published in Blog, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

Hank Williams III has been my favorite country musician for years; Johnny Cash included. I’ve seen him play Minneapolis’ First Avenue a few times, and as time went on, more and more people began showing up to the shows alongside me. The last Hank Williams III concert I attended was last August, and that will likely be the last time that I ever find myself mixed up in a physical pit. Just by the sheer number of people who were there that night I should have known better, but even by the time that Williams’ traditional country set was over I had to step away, sweat soaked and blurry-eyed.

The most amazing part of that night wasn’t even the music, it was just seeing how many people were coming out in support of the musician. The previous show I had seen had a good turn out, but as Williams moved on from his traditional set to his rockabilly set to his hardcore set with Assjack, the floor emptied out, leaving but a few dozen people remaining at most. I guess more people are “getting it,” and why wouldn’t they?

Here in Minneapolis we’re given a broad selection of radio stations compared to many cities. That being said, the genres that are represented are limited. Pop-rap and surface-level indie rock are there, just as there are a few oldies stations, but for fans of harder music or country the selection is very limited. In all honesty I don’t know how many country stations there are around here, but between the few the city has you’re not likely to find a single straying away from the pop-country rigmarole. Same goes for hard rock; if you’re not feeling whatever’s on the modern rock charts, you’re out of luck.

The United States of Clear Channel has left a variety of openings in between its mainstream cracks; many niches that are, in their generalized view, too small to bother paying attention to. One such niche is filled by Hank Williams III, and that niche market is apparently a little larger than once believed.

In its debut week, Hank Williams III’s last album Damn Right, Rebel Proud came in at #18 on the Billboard 200. More importantly, in selling around 20,000 units the album represents Williams’ highest chart position ever on the Country chart as well; ranking the album just below Kenny Chesney at number two and above Carrie Underwood, above Sugarland, and above Faith Hill.

Damn Right, Rebel Proud is one of those releases that just makes you want to smile. There’s been no comparison to it on the country chart since its release and there may not be for quite some time. Songs like “The Grand Ole Opry (Ain’t So Grand),” “Candidate For Suicide” and the 10 minute long ode to GG Allin, “P.F.F.,” have no conventional place on that chart but they were represented near the top of the mountain all the same.

In “The Grand Ole Opry” Williams rips into the industry, condemning and shirking some of its most famous legends. And now you can add Hank Williams III to the list of outlaw rebels who have corrupted the system by infiltrating its all-too-clean walls… and there are at least 20,000 people who are with me in expressing that sentiment. And while that song may hold the most weight on the album, “Six Pack of Beer” does its best to express the enthusiasm and rowdy lifestyle the the musician and his band have come to be known for.

[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]