Hank Williams, Jr. Biography
Review The Artist (11)
The fact that the career of HANK WILLIAMS JR. has endured to become legendary is not surprising. What is surprising—no, make that amazing—is that the man himself has survived the ride.
With 2002, comes the resurgence of the man and his music, and never has there been a time Hank Jr. and his national anthem of ‘country boys can survive’ seemed more relevant to world headlines and musical tastes. A renewed Americanism and a pride in self sufficiency as a national art form can only spell out his name in bold relief—be it carved in a tree in rural Alabama or spray painted on a dilapidated ghetto sidewall in Brooklyn. Hank Williams Jr., like America, has and will survive.
The release of Hank’s much anticipated new music project, “The Almeria Club,” delivers on the promise of not only new musical innovation and new sounds, but a fascinating lifting of the veil to glimpse yet another original slice of family folklore.
Just grazing past the half century mark in his own life, Hank Williams Jr. is at an important juncture. Emerged fully from his father’s imposing shadow, he’s looking back at the roots of his raising with a new appreciation from whence he came. He’s mellowed a shade or two, but lost none of the raw power and cutting edge that has steam powered the engine that succeeded in propelling his own musical imprint into the history books.
On “Almeria Club,” Hank is re-visiting the family tradition from the exact site where Williams family history was originally penned. Hank Sr. did it “his way” there prior to the birth of Randall Hank Williams, his heir to the musical throne.
With his career crowding seventy albums, Hank has a fascinating career to look back upon for a legend still in his prime. His discography chronicles a bold profile of growth from adored offspring of a legendary father, to titan of the modern country rock movement in his own right. Is it any wonder that during the whole last decade, America came to its collective fight each Monday night when this larger than life superman of a musician looked into the camera and unleashed the national anthem for viewers of ABC’s “Monday Night Football”—“Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?” Those simple words won Hank not only a whole new generation of fans but gave him the distinction of being the first country performer to ever win an Emmy—a feat he repeated in ’90 through ’93.
Randall Hank was born May 26, 1949, one month before his father made a landmark first appearance on “The Grand Ole Opry” stage in Nashville. His daddy affectionately nicknamed his baby boy “Bocephus,” after the ventriloquist dummy of the same name who shared the stage with country comic Rod Brasfield. An ironic moniker in the fact that in years to come, Hank Jr.’s uncanny genius for blending his own musical style to cross all the conceivable boundaries between rock and country, would find him, least of all, possessed of none of the qualities of his wooden namesake.
He was three when Hank Sr. died in 1952 and only five years older, at eight, when his mother, Audrey, coaxed him onstage to sing his daddy’s songs.
He made his own debut on the hallowed Opry stage at 11, and at 14 was in the studio for his first record. His rendition of Sr.’s “Long Gone Lonesome Blues” became a hit and transferred the family mantle of stardom and all its blessings and curses to his young shoulders.
In the midst of his teen years, the gulf between Hank Jr. and “normal” grew.
He was already a star, adored by fans, pursued by women twice his age, and coming to terms with life in the fast, tempestuous business of making music. The darkness that had clouded his father’s life seemed destined on his horizon.
Record breaking crowds, chart breaking stats, heartbreaking personal problems—Hank had his share of them all when he was hardly old enough yet to vote. With his career popularity, he was growing restless, tired of the expectations to be the “young Hank Sr.,” hemmed in by the lack of space for the unique qualities of musical expression that were as unique to Hank as his own fingerprints.
Hank was climbing out and climbing into his own shadow when he fell off the mountain. His innovative, raw edged “Hank Williams Jr. & Friends” was freshly in the can, steeping with the talents of young musicians such as Dickie Betts, Toy Caldwell, and Charlie Daniels, who came along side to support Hank’s new musical epiphany as a young country rocker.
It was the ‘70s,--a time for taking risks-- and Jr. was never one to bypass a new mountain to climb—either literally or musically. While mountain climbing in Montana, he took a fall that by every law of nature should have added the adjective “late” in front of his name on all future press releases.
But Hank, as we all know, was never one to follow the ‘law.’ With his head split open, his brain in his hand, and his face shattered, Hank Williams Jr. had only begun to fight. From within the wellsprings of courage and fight so much a part of his persona, Hank summoned up the ‘by God’ determination only a southern boy too young to die can summon.
Survive he did, to come from the ashes, re-born as his own man. It’s been a road he was never to look back from personally or musically.
His current project, “The Almeria Club” circa 2002, is the latest stop on the odyssey that is Hank’s continuing journey set to music.
A time tested staple situated just south of Troy, Alabama, as the crow flies, ‘The Almeria Club,’ where much of the project was recorded, was built in 1907 and served for a time as both a school house and in its later reincarnation, as the town’s community center.
It was here, as an old gentlemen recounted to Jr., that a fight broke out during a performance by Hank Sr. in 1947—two years before Jr. was to see the first light of day. Legend recalls an irate lover broke up the concert that Hank Sr. was performing that night, welding a gun and drawing a dead-eye bead on his sweetie and someone she shouldn’t have been with. In the midst of the ensuing fray, Hank Sr. dropped his guitar, grabbed his adored Miss Audrey, Jr.’s mother, around the waist and literally headed for the hills. Country music’s most famous couple of the day jumped out a backstage window in the old “Almeria Club” and hightailed it through the Alabama woods to escape the gunfire. Yep…Hank done it that way.
Hank Jr. celebrates the reincarnation of this important landmark as he does all things: his way. His personal tradition of pushing his own envelope to new musical levels holds true, as it always has, as rowdy friends imported for the session included a full “who’s who” of top musicians imported from Los Angeles, Austin, and Nashville. The vibe is great country and blues, laced with a high-end acoustic feel, twined with fiddle, banjo, upright piano, and slide guitar. Guest appearances by Nickel Creek and Kid Rock add just the right seasoning for the master himself to fry up a newly caught batch of multi-platinum.
The public Hank, whose concerts are parties thrown for thousands of “guests of honor” who clamor before his stages, waving beer bottles and Confederate flags and are legendary, is as relevant to music today as he was the first day music buyers by the millions took his music to heart. He’s a legend…so are his hits. In his private life, Hank loves to hunt and fish, loves his wife and kids, loves his country, and still loves to raise hell whenever possible. His every appearance reminds us that America—like Hank—“can survive.” And will.
The pages of his bio can’t hope to contain the essence of his larger than life persona and his legend.
Sufficient is it to say in this, the current chapter of greatness, Hank Williams Jr. is a satisfied man.
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Give em hell Hank!!! | Reviewer: Phillip Carter | 5/28/13
Keep on doing what you.ve been doing for the last five decades. I still enjoy your music and country boy common sense. You never met me but I was brother in law to your long-time friend Merle Kilgore. My fist home was in Montgomery in the area next to your father's grave. My parents still have pictures of that day he was laid to rest.
Loser! | Reviewer: Tom | 8/20/12
Sorry to say but H Jr. is a loser. He was a typical yellow streak down the back red neck that was a 4F during the Viet Nam War. Coward? Yes!!!! Likes to run his mouth like Ted Nugent and he is in the same category! He is also a coward and likes to run his mouth. I think anyone that is not educated (Ted Nugent 1 year of junior college in Oakland, Ca.) and Hank that shows no college education on his bio should rely on other people as a spokesperson. So the lesson is do not say things unless you can back them up with facts. I am an Independent and think both parties stink. I do not like extremists on either format. Luckily Adolf Hitler is not here any longer so people like the two morons mentioned can get away with what they say.
ur awsum HANK WILLIAMS JR. ;) | Reviewer: dori | 3/27/12
i love your music your a hero to me and my family we love yu and we loved your dad so keep doin wat u ben doin an try to keep ur age of country here you rbeetr then all this new crap thats out in country music now like talyor swift and all them people but anyways i love oyu hannk thank you for oyur insipration iv alwasy wanted to be a country singer like you
tnprecious | Reviewer: beverly mitchell | 10/13/11
HANK IS SO COOL. I LOVE HIS DONT GIVE A DAMN ATTITUDE. AND I GOT TO SEE HIM UP CLOSE AND THE FUNERAL FOR MRS. JUNE CARTER CASH. I REMEMBER HOW TALL HE STOOD . HES A COUNTRY BOY WHO PROVED , HE CAN SURVIVE. THANKS FOR ALL THE AWESOME MUSIC. TNPRECIOUS
a child hood idle | Reviewer: daniel ashbrook | 8/17/11
I was in grade school when my brother bought "country boy can survive" we listened every day, until my brother got tired of listening to it. Then my brother lent it to me. I can't tell just how many copies i've bought, just, that, song ressanat's soo strongly with others and myself i've not bought my last.
Thank you Hank for a life time of encurragement.
Hank Jr | Reviewer: Lisa Myers | 3/8/11
Has Hank died? I was told that he had. I have been a big fan of his for as long as I can remember. His don't give a damn attitude has rubbed off on millions, including myself. To say he's awesome is a total understatement!
The greatest | Reviewer: Jarrod childers | 7/5/10
I think that hank is the greatest country music singer ever. He dont give a damn attitude is the way that country music should be. He is the heart and the soul of all us country faulks. So thanks hank foreverything that you have done for country music
friends | Reviewer: kimberly fisher | 3/15/10
i am a big fan of yours my brother loves your music also his birthday is april 6 i would love to be able to give him a picture signed by you i am in a wheelchair so it makes it hard for me to get out if there is a posssible way you coul;d send me one i would love it my address is 312bsyacomre st. carrollton ky.41008 thanks
last time I heard | Reviewer: steven | 9/19/09
last time I heard, Hank Jr. was doing fine and well. I saw him on TV and he looked like the picture of health. He was having a hell of a good time a singing and hollering like always. People, please don't put bad news on the internet of people as famous as him being on hospice or dead. It don't bode well with us country hicks in Alabama and my momma thinks he's just the hottest thing ever and if anything happened to him I think she would die.
daughter | Reviewer: nyla rose gentry | 12/14/08
i was told that he had a baby girl a few yrs ago and named her nyla rose. just wanted to know if that was true. i couldn't even get mine own sons to name their daughters after me.so if he did, i feel truly honored even tho he doesn't even know me.
Hank Williams JR. | Reviewer: Sharon Bibee | 11/18/07
I was told that Hank Williams JR. has died? Is this true??? I have not heard anything on radio or televison. One time I saw some posting that he was on Hospice
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