7 Months, 39 Days -+ Broke, Lovesick & Driftin' -+Cecil Brown -+ One Horse Town -+Mississippi Mud -+ Whiskey, Weed, & Women -+Trashville -+ Walkin' With Sorrow 5 Shots of Whiskey -+ Nighttime Ramblin' Man -+ Callin' Your Name -+ Atlantic City
"Lord, honey, you're a ghost," Minnie Pearl allegedly told Hank Williams III after their first meeting. It's a natural reaction to the skinny singer with the sunken cheekbones and, especially, the pinched nasal vocal--so reminiscent of his famous grandfather's catch-and-moan delivery. Hank III's debut, Risin' Outlaw
, made that clear, but now his follow-up carves it on the wall, vocally, melodically, and lyrically. While the third-generation rebel strives mightily to find his own sound by wedding the spooky, old-style country blues and dark themes of his grandfather (Hank Sr.
) to the Southern rock and boogie of his dad (Hank Jr.
), at times he's guilty of trying too
hard to buck Nashville ("Trashville") and re-create the misery of the Williams family tradition. Song after song packs danger and despair between the lines, in drinking to kill the pain, in wallowing in depression, in walking the "low road" of life. That said, III knows how to conjure a gutbucket rhythm ("7 Months and 39 Days") as well as a mournful tearjerker ("5 Shots of Whiskey"), and his touring band keeps things spare, raw, and honkin'. Not everything comes together, but there's no doubting this is a fascinating snapshot of a magical performer struggling to make his own legend. --Alanna Nash