We get it: you're a rebel
Hank Williams III
Damn Right Rebel Proud (Sidewalk)
ESSENTIAL "I Wish I Knew"
Needless to say, an album that includes a 10-minute ode to the deranged and pathetic G.G. Allin and an obscenity-laced rant about the Grand Ole Opry ain't your father's country music or, for that matter, the music of Hank III's iconic grandfather. But there is some fine-sounding, high-voltage country here. Hank III has again grabbed a handful of superb Nashville session pickers to wrap his words with music that ranges from the electric, Wayne Hancock-inspired hillbilly of "Wild & Free" to the shades-of-Bocephus sound of "Me & My Friends." And his voice remains an eerie echo of the Hillbilly Shakespeare's. His songwriting, though, is another matter. Cliché-ridden and full of awkward rhymes and stilted phrasings, his songs are too often fixated on his own bad self, on celebrating his excesses, romanticizing their dark side, and asserting his outlaw bona fides. On occasion - the high-lonesome, lost-love lament "I Wish I Knew," for example - he gets past that. But after hearing yet one more line about drinking a lot and smoking a ton and his general rebel ways, the title of a song that ol' Waylon Jennings sang 30 years ago may come to mind: "Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out of Hand?" [Stuart Munro]