Hank Williams... III.
Now, I'm sure that everyone reading the line above had a different thought, reaction, opnion, etc.
I just finished listening to 'Rebel Within'. Hmm... I started listening with a recently read interview fresh in my mind. Just the other day I was scanning music sites and came across a Hank III interview. In it he proclaims the record to be a throw-away. Something not worth very much - put together only to fulfill his contract with his label. Nothing more. He says that he didn't put much effort into it because everything would have to be left behind with the label and he was reserving his energy for later work not to be owned by that particular label.
Do you admire or be concerned by an artist with that much forthright honesty? I suppose I feel a certain level of respect for the man for not hiding what he feels but... What can you truly say to this? It's his opnion. Some of the harder stuff that he considers his best work - his punkish roots - I don't like. It's not for me. I don't run it down or look down on it because I know that it means something to other people (who are not me). Everyone has different tastes in music and I actually enjoy the debate that arises out of this. So with this attitude I went in hoping that the $20 or more that I spent on the vinyl/CD package was going to be worth it.
Some of the album has a certain kind of charm and some of it gets in your face and proclaims its view in not taking itself seriously. This could be a good thing but it could also be a bad thing. This is not a record review. I've only listened once and the other listens I give to the album could very well give me new insight into the music. This is a rambling opinion/group of questions regarding the man himself.
As I listened to the album and thought back to the other albums he has done, I contemplated a few things. First off - does the man EVER take himself seriously. It very often seems as though he has gotten into the music industry for the fun of it all and to stir up a little bit (or a whole lot - depending on his mood) of contraversy every now and then. It's one thing to proclaim your dispisal of all things modern/popular/mainstream country and quite another to sit back and see what comes to you.
The man has a gorgeous tone when he puts it to use as well as an impressive (and to me, equally gorgeous) whine when he puts that to use. The first thing people need to see about him is that he is NOT his Grandpa no matter how much he sounds like (at times) and looks like him. He does have his own style of music when he does country as well as when he does other styles.
My main question being - who is Shelton Williams? Is Shelton the hard drinking, hard drugging, hard living persona that Hank III puts on in his songs or is he someone else entirely? I think too many people (himself included) focus too hard on the middle name. Is "Crazed Country Rebel" catchy? Yes it is, you'll never see me deny that (if you're eve rout near me, I'm the one driving by singing along) BUT do all the songs have to be about lcohal and drugs? It seems to me as though the entire new album is devoted to just that.
Am I the only one who thinks he should take some time just for himself now that his contract with the label is done? He needs to take the time to get back in touch with who HE is not who the label and other people want him to be. And if he knows who he is? Show us. Make a different kind of album no matter what the genre of music is that accompanies it. I think his music could only get stronger for it.
Of course, maybe I'm just thinking too hard but then again... he wasn't really lying (in my opinion) when he spoke of the new album being a hurried off obligation with no thought put into it. It sounds like something topic-wise (etc) that a few green kids put together in their daddy's garage.
Correct me if I am wrong.