Critic's Choice

A country artist by both default and fate, Hank III, Thursday, November 7, at the Gothic Theatre with the Shak Shakers and Drag the River, endures a different sort of affliction than that suffered by his grandfather, the legendary Hank Williams, Sr., and father, the almost-as-legendary Hank Williams Jr. While Gramps battled painkiller addictions and a serious mean streak, and Dad abused the bottle and other substances, Hank III grapples with musical schizophrenia. The first half of III's live show is solid C&W that eerily echoes Granddad's cornerstone country, while the second half is blistering and brutal misfit rock. Purists of either genre might find themselves confused -- and heading for the exit at various points in the evening. But those who check out both styles will be duly rewarded. No matter what brand of music he's playing, Williams always displays the kiss-my-butt moxy defined by his forebears. Example: While on tour to promote Risin' Outlaw, his debut album for Curb Records, in 1999, Williams panned the recording, ripped on his producer and asked to be dropped from his label during interviews. (See "It's a Family Tradition," October 28, 1999.) On Lovesick, Broke and...Driftin', his most recent effort, Williams shows signs of finding his voice and getting comfy in his skin. That's quite a proposition, considering the DNA he's made of.


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