Hank Williams III is the embodiment of rebel country, or "hellbilly," as some folks call it. Damn Right, Rebel Proud offers another helping of pissed-off lyrics and surly vocals, while maintaining the signature style that his fans love: straightforward Nashville rockabilly roots, liberally laced with punk and metal influences.
While he clearly embraces his lineage (he would likely be just another two-bit punk-country singer without it), it's obvious that Hank III is anxious to separate himself, both from his famous forefathers and the music industry itself. The scathing opener proclaims that "the Grande Ole Opry ain't so grand anymore," and proceeds to list—over a cheerful, bouncy melody—exactly why the Opry (and, one assumes, the country music industry in general) is so uptight and out-of-touch.
Along with his hard-driving, string-heavy back-up band, Hank III churns, sneers, snarls and screams his way through 13 tunes full of whiskey, drugs, suicides and working-class stiffs. While some songs are traditional enough for two-stepping, and others lean more heavily on modern punk, they are, at their core, about rebel pride. And in that sense—given the defiant natures of his father and grandfather before him—the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.
Hank Williams III and Assjack play the Wilma Theatre Wednesday, April 7, at 8 PM. $20/$18 advance.