Calling all Cattle. The Continuing Misadventures of Hank3
I first heard about Hank3 from a friend of mine a few years ago and during our conversation he told me about a show that he played and how crazy it was. My response? “Hank3? You mean Hank Williams grandson? Now I know zilch about country music so I filed that under “couldn’t care less”. What enticed me was the fact that he played metal. Hell-billy backwoods country music and metal? Yeah that pretty much got my attention. I had to take heed to this recommendation due to his discriminating ear for music so I made a mental note about it and went on about my day.
Sept 6th 2011is the release day for Hank3 4 CD release (yes I said 4). Music ranging from country, doom, sludge, and metal, he released these albums on his own Hank3 records through Mega force Records. He’s pushing the limits on accomplishments and living life to the fullest with no apologies and an onslaught of pure country badass ness. A descendent from country royalty, he represents the rebelliousness of the genre, appreciates his roots, but adds a splash of what he likes pushing the music envelope Hank3 style. He represents his roots, but parlays it with his own interests, which include doom, punk, and metal. Excuse me but when was the last time you heard a backwoods country song with slide guitar and fiddles mixed in with speed metal and old school doom? My guess probably never.
He’s doing his own thing and choosing to be a part of a music industry on his own terms versus the generic clone-ridden pop country standard. Anyone who rebels against the standard and stands on his own immediately has my attention. Truthfully, I haven’t been very inspired to write much lately largely due to the lack of original talent in the music scene these days. It’s the same old shit day after day, show after show. Nothing original, nothing new and to put it mildly - boring. Hank3 is taking advantage of the fact that he may not be in a position to ever do this again and by releasing four albums all at once, he's doing something most musicians can't or won't do.
Shifting into first gear we have “Attention Deficit Domination” which is pretty straightforward doom/ sludge. Some notable groovy mid tempo tracks consist of “I Feel Sacrificed” “Demon's Mark” and “Aman”. ADD is a decent attempt but after several listens it didn’t leave me with anything note-worthy. Moving right along into second gear we have “Ghost to a Ghost”. A solid 180 from ADD this is the Hank most people probably come to expect, country music with banjos and fiddles. Songs that represent southern living like “Day by Day” and “Outlaw Convention”. I will say that I like people who shift radical gears in their music styles, a sort of musical schizophrenia if you will and Hank3 is not afraid to switch gears on you. He’s even got his dog Trooper in on the action with his very own song called “Trooper's Holler”.
Moving right along the Hank3 highway we shift to 3rd gear with “Gutter Town” - part two of the country chronicles of Hank3. This album feels a bit more backwoods, continuing in the tradition of old school country music. There is a lot of instrumentals on this album giving you the feel like you’re in the backwoods of Tennessee sitting by a campfire with crickets abound (“Going to Gutter Town” and “Gutter Stomp”), accordion in tow, chewing some tobacco, and regaling songs of the old south. This album has more of an experimental component to it consisting of a lot of sound effects with some songs in between.
Now we save 4th gear for the complete psychotic madness, which is “Three Bar Ranch Cattle Calling”. Hank is genius for convincing some of the best cattle callers alive to record on this album much to their dismay and hesitation. Add some guitars and voila - Genius. Now I'm from California and I know jack squat about cattle auctions and auctioneers. But after listening to this I can honestly say I have a new appreciation for it. Give the average Joe a microphone and see what he can do! Hank cranked out these 4 albums in a few months time at the haunted ranch which is his home in the outskirts of Nashville using a Korg D1600 Digital Mixer. Striking while the iron is hot seems to be his motto - especially when it comes to recording. The overall feel is experimental, straight-forward music with some grit and distortion. Nothing fancy, clean or polished, just stripped down recordings on a budget. Now is this something I would listen to on a regular basis? Probably not, but I can see myself from time to time popping this in my car stereo for shits and giggles or to have my friends have a listen. Also I could put this in during a party where the beer and peanuts are flowing, or better yet at a camp fire singing along freely with a healthy buzz. It's fun and entertaining - kudos to Hank3 for being original.
by Darien Lomeli (