If the world of country music had royalty, Hank Williams would certainly be among its kings. Although dying prematurely and tragically in 1953 at the age of 29 (instead of 27, which seems to be the age that many talented musicians accidentally or deliberately pull the plug on the amp of life and go to that great backstage party in the sky), Williams found time between performing and partying to father a son he named after him. Born in 1949, Hank Williams Junior followed in his famous father's cowboy-boot two-steps, starting out as essentially an impersonator of his father before finding his own style and becoming another legend of country music in his own right. Personally, I'm not much of a country music fan, but much like my other arch-enemies of eardrum assaults, namely [c]rap, there are occasionally some songs I like.
Although Hank Junior inherited his father's musical talents, genetics worked against him in the form of alcohol and substance abuse. After nearly getting killed by a 500-foot fall while mountain climbing, Hank Junior suffered serious facial and skull injuries and had to go through a couple of years of physical and speech therapy. After more-or-less recovering, the perpetually bearded, hat-and-sunglasses-wearing Hank Junior went on to record a succession of successful and well-received albums, and continues to record and perform to this day. Once again taking cues from his deceased dad, Hank Junior found time in between being whisky bent and hell bound to father a son, born in 1972 and naming him Hank Williams III.
Talented, influential people don't necessarily produce talented, influential offspring, as anyone familiar with the work of Lisa Marie Presley or Tori Spelling can attest. There's no accounting for taste, and everyone is entitled to their own likes and opinions. Lisa Marie has the acting ability of a blue suede shoe and ain't nuthin' but a hound-dog when it comes to her singing. Speaking of dogs, Tori is ugly enough to scatter a blind leper colony into another ZIP code, and if not for her powerful late father, she would have never gotten a second look from a lecherous and rapaciously opportunistic producer lurking and trolling at a Hollywood bus station, much less a star turn on the casting couch.
Hank Williams III, on the other hand, explodes with musical talent. Taking a sharp turn away from the styles and traditions of his famous forebears, Hank III preferred punk rock and heavy metal to country and western, and wore Vans and concert t-shirts instead of Tony Lamas and Stetsons. Despite the change in attitude and style, Hank III, perhaps without surprise, also became a musician, and was a versatile and accomplished multi-instrumentalist by the time he was a teenager. Hank III evidently took after his grand-dad in more than just musical talent; when the perpetually price-tagged country comedian Minnie Pearl first saw him, she supposedly said, "Lord, honey, you're a ghost," as she was astonished by Hank III's striking resemblance to his grandfather, whom she knew personally.
What makes Hank III stand out, among other things, is the Jekyll-and-Hyde format of his live performances. The show starts out with Hank III and his band (The Damned Band, and/or Assjack) playing a combination of covers of the famous Hanks before him in addition to his own original country-western material, and Hank III plays it all in ways that would make his daddy and granddaddy very proud. Halfway through the show, Hank and his band transform from an authentic hillbilly band into an ear drum-assaulting, cranium-pummeling, hydroshock-inducing speed-thrash-punk-metal act. Hank III's hair goes down and the volume goes up. People who have come to see him for the countrified portion of his show start hitting the exits at a high velocity. Here are a few examples of the yin and the twang of his repertoire, listed by ratings of potential physical and psychological trauma:
Low - "Crazed Country Rebel":
Medium - "Long Hauls and Close Calls":
High - "Tennessee Driver":
Judging by all of the references to the copious consumption of drugs and alcohol, it looks like Hank III continues another family tradition, but as long as he can handle it and continues to produce good music, none of his fans care. I'm sure the great Hank Williams Senior continues to rest in peace knowing the family business is alive and well, even if his grandson gets him to twitch every now and then.