Hank Williams, Jr.
Larger than life, capable of summoning “all his rowdy friends” with a couple crashing downbeats and a blaring guitar riff, Hank Williams Jr. has been one of country music’s truest outlaws for over half a century. But at his core, the 72-year-old legend is the bluesman, Thunderhead Hawkins. Pure, unqualified and unadulterated, the only son of Hank Williams has the same down low lonesome in his veins as the man Rufus “Tee-Tot” Payne taught to play guitar as a small child growing up in Greenville, Alabama.
With Rich White Honky Blues, available now via Easy Eye Sound, the second-generation Country Music Hall of Famer makes good on his legacy with a turpentine and rough wood take on the hill country blues that informed his father’s raw-boned style of putting his pain out there. GRAMMY-winning Producer of the Year Dan Auerbach recorded the set live over three days, with a dozen songs, reprising classics from Robert Johnson, Lightnin’ Hopkins, R.L. Burnside, Muddy Waters, Big Joe Turner, and a few from Bocephus himself.
“The blues is where it all comes from,” concedes Williams. “It’s the start of everything musical in my family; everything starts with Tee-Tot and flows from there. I’ve always flirted with this stripped back blues – all the way back to the ‘80s. But I finally made an album that’s just that, and I like it.”