Who the Hell is Hank III?

Who the Hell is Hank III?

Have you ever heard of Hank 3, or maybe you can make a better guess with Hank III? 

You guessed it! Hank III is part of the Hank Williams legacy. What’s his story?

We dove into the world of cowpunk, hellbilly, and all things Hank III to find out more.

Let’s jump in!

The Story of Hank Williams III

Shelton Hank Williams, or Hank Williams III, is an alt-country singer known for his unique songwriting style. Born in 1972, he’s Hank Williams Jr’s firstborn. Although coming from the lineage of country star Hank Williams carries clout, life for Hank III wasn’t exactly easy.

Hank III’s legendary grandfather died well before he was born. And he barely knew his father. Hank Jr. married his mom, Gwen Yeargain, in 1971. 

Four years later, Hank Jr. was in a terrible hiking accident, spent two years recovering, and promptly got a divorce. Yeargain raised Hank Williams III as a single mother, working at local retail stores.

Hank III was cut off from the fortunes of both Hank Sr and Hank Jr. However, he did inherit their love for music and for living on the edge. Growing up in Nashville, hank rebelled against the country music legacy he was born into. 

He listened to bands like Kiss and Black Sabbath. He loved the Misfits and Black Flag. When he started drumming in thrashy bands like Bedwetter and Buzzkill, his mother sent him to a Christian camp. 

Although he continued to play in punk and metal bands like Superjoint Ritual, Hank III became curious about his grandfather’s past. He met with people like Minnie Pearl, who was amazed by how he resembled Hank Sr. 

After being served child support papers, Hank 3 decided to cash in on his legacy. A path he reluctantly followed for about ten years. Curb Records signed him in the late 90s, and Hank 3 released ten albums under their label. Half of them, including Hillbilly Joker and Ramblin Man, were unauthorized releases after leaving the company.

Hank Williams III has released five albums on his own label, Hank3, since 2011.

What is Hank 3 Doing Now?

Hank III doesn’t exactly reveal what he’s up to every second of the day on his social media. But you can get a good idea of who the man is and what he likes. Once a punk, always a punk. We have a feeling he’s always up to something. It may just not reach the mainstream.

Hank III produced five records from 2011 to 2013 and toured through 2014. He spent much of the next couple of years working on merch and himself. As a multi-instrumentalist, Hank 3 spends a lot of his time practicing and playing music. He’s also a huge fan of seeing music. 

Still, Hank III seems to dip out of sight for extended periods, as many feel he has in recent years.

One reason for the slow-down in Hank 3’s touring was due to having to relocate. For unknown reasons, he had to move from his home and studio, nicknamed the Haunted Ranch.

But that was back in 2016. Metal band DevilDriver produced an outlaw country album with Hank III in 2018. But he wasn’t part of the 2020 inaugural CMT show Another Round, which featured every other grandchild of Hank Williams.

But never fear. Hank 3 is still here.

Maybe he’s been spending more time with his son, Coleman Finchum. After years of no contact, Finchum moved in with his dad somewhere around 2019.

On May 24th, 2021, Hank III dropped a surprise cover on his Youtube channel. He recorded his rendition of You Never Called Me By My Name, originally by David Coe, in one sitting. The Youtube video has over 106,000 views, 4100 likes, and zero dislikes.

From the Muse: To get a good dose of Hank III now, follow his Instagram account: sheltonhankwilliamsiii.

Hank III’s Best Known Songs

Hank Williams III has released over 50 singles. The 2001 single I Don’t Know is a hootenanny neo-traditional tune that makes you feel like you’re in a country bar in the middle of Las Vegas. It’s the only Hank 3 song to rank in the US Country Charts. If you love a fast fiddle, then this is your jam.

Rebel Within is one of the most well-known songs by Hank III. It might also be the most interesting. Released in 2010, the song is a perfect answer for anyone wondering what metal country is. 

Another fast-paced, skillet licker of a tune, Rebel Within, features lyrics that are both sung and screamed. The first few measures sound pretty standard, as far as modern country music goes. But you might fall off your barstool when the chorus kicks in. The song also features the opposing forces of a country fiddle versus mean metal guitar pickin’.

Our favorite Hank III song is Country Heroes. This downbeat number first appeared on the 2006 album Straight To Hell. It features a lap steel guitar, one like you’ll hear from modern alt-country bands like Calexico. 

The lyrics describe someone feeling low, turning to their regular bar to get drunk with their country heroes such as Haggard, Cash, and Hank (of course.) 

Do Hank III and His Dad Get Along?

The answer to this question remains between the two gentlemen. But from all public reports, the two living Hanks aren’t exactly close. Growing up, Hank 3 saw his dad performing on television all of the time. But Hank Jr never came around to visit his son.

Hank Jr gave his son accolades for his musical proficiency. They worked together on the 1996 Curb Records album Three Hanks: Men With Broken Hearts. But how much time they spent in the same room together remains questionable. 

Interestingly, Hank III has defended his absent father’s behavior. He knows the weight of being the son of a famous musician. And Hank Jr. never had a father, so maybe he just didn’t have the skills. 

When Hank Jr garnered worldwide criticism for likening Barak Obama to Adolph Hitler, his son remained neutral. “My dad should not talk politics. Most musicians are not worthy of political discussion.” 

Maybe Hank III is a sympathetic soul. He can be disappointed but leave room for his father to come around someday.

The Legacy Continues Regardless of the Genre

Hank III is a musical maverick. He’s a multi-instrumentalist whose fusion of metal, punk, and country has beckoned a legion of followers. He’s passed up a life of chart-topping possibilities for one of authenticity. 

Hank 3 is also an outsider, and he’s ok with that. He’s collaborated with musicians from all walks of life, including Tom Waits and Duane Denison. His musical style may not be for everyone, but we think it’s certainly worth a listen. What do you think of his music?

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