I’ve had the 1999 album Risin’ Outlaw by Hank III repeatedly inflicted on me by the old man. The boy looks and sounds significantly like grandpa, and Pops is pretty determined to like him.
Hey, I want to like the record, but the songs are not there. They all sound like grandpa, only without the inspiration. The songs mostly are watered down re-writes of Hank Sr. Indeed, my dad seems to think that they are cover versions of grandpa’s songs, though they are in fact credited as original songs. I haven’t bothered to correct him.
The biggest display of skill in these songs is lawyerly, making something that sounds as close as possible to classic Hank Sr without being legally actionable plagiarism. In practice, this mostly means dispensing with the identifiable hooks.
On top of which, he kept re-writing the same couple of songs. You could pretty well sing a karaoke “Mind Your Own Business” over top of “Why Don’t You Leave Me Alone”- and a couple of the other “original” songs as well.
The boy does have a good vocal instrument, courtesy of grandpa. If someone hooked him up with some decent songs, he might do well enough. He tried very hard to make a good record. It IS a real country record, not pop-glossed Garth Brooks crap.
However, he just doesn’t seem to have the personal inspiration or vision. He learned heartbreak from listening to grandpa’s records and outlawery from listening to dad’s records. It comes across as book-learned country rather than lived experience. There’s just nothing that’s distinctly Hank III here.