NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As Hank Williams Jr. readies fans for Rich White Honky Blues, set for next Friday, June 17 via Easy Eye Sound, the Country Music Hall of Famer debuts his take on R.L. Burnside’s “Fireman Ring the Bell,” a high-tempo blues burner, driven by punchy slide guitar punctuated by the longtime legendary country outlaw’s dynamic vocals.
A 12-song collection reprising classics from Robert Johnson, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Burnside, Muddy Waters, Big Joe Turner and a few from Bocephus himself, captured live over the course of just three days by GRAMMY-winning producer Dan Auerbach, Rich White Honky Blues finds Williams making good on his legacy with a turpentine and rough wood take on the hill country blues that informed his father’s raw-boned style.
Today’s release follows “Jesus, Won’t You Come By Here,” which premiered exclusively with CMT and CMT.com. With Kenny Brown’s electric guitar, Auerbach on dobro and Bobbie Wood’s churchy piano and organ, the Country Music Hall of Famer sings with a robust conviction that suggests the larger than life amongst us transcend mortal limitations.
With another cover from blues legend Burnside, Williams’ “Georgia Women” premiered with Tennessean, sharing “Bocephus achieves tapping into the spirit of his father’s iconic teacher Rufus ‘Tee Tot’ Payne, and a century of other blues legends.”
Released alongside the announcement of Rich White Honky Blues, album opener “.44 Special Blues” (Williams’ take on Robert Johnson’s “32-20 Blues”) was dubbed by Rolling Stone as “a lonesome, acoustic blues number,” while Consequence shared “the spry solo track digs into the County Music Hall of Famer’s bluesy roots, with its vintage-style refrain, ‘Baby where’d you stay last night,’ pairing perfectly to his well-worn wail.”
“You bring who you are,” Williams says. “All that… all… of… that… is where my music comes from. When we got into the studio, the more we played, the deeper we got – and the deeper we got, the harder I wanted to go.”
“It’s that rawness, and how real it is,” shares producer Auerbach. “I was always searching for the rawness, the darkest stuff. Once we were in it, as soon as we started playing, Hank was invested. That lifted everybody else up, to really push each other.”
Rich White Honky Blues Track List
.44 Special Blues
My Starter Won’t Start
Take Out Some Insurance
Rich White Honky Blues
Short Haired Woman
Fireman Ring the Bell
Rock Me Baby
I Like It When It’s Stormy
Call Me Thunderhead
Jesus, Won’t You Come By Here
About Hank Williams Jr.
Hank Williams Jr.’s extremely impressive resume has spawned 70 million albums sold worldwide, six PLATINUM albums, 20 GOLD albums, 13 No. 1 albums and 10 No. 1 singles. Marking 58 years since his first album in 1964, Williams Jr. is preparing to release his 57th studio album Rich White Honky Blues on June 17 via Easy Eye Sound, featuring 12 songs recorded over a three-day period by GRAMMY-winning producer Dan Auerbach. 2016’s It’s About Time (Nash Icon Records) included the history-making “Are You Ready for the Country,” as well as tunes “Dress Like an Icon,” “Just Call Me Hank,” “It’s About Time” and “The Party’s On” in addition to re-recorded versions of classics “Mental Revenge” and “Born to Boogie” with Brantley Gilbert, Justin Moore and Brad Paisley on guitar. Following It’s About Time, Williams Jr. has released several compilations, including All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over: Great Tailgating Songs, A Country Boy Can Survive (Box Set), Hank Jr. Sings Hank Sr. and 35 Biggest Hits. He continues to add accolades to an extremely impressive resume, which includes ACM Entertainer of the Year, CMA Entertainer of the Year and BMI Icon, in addition to a GRAMMY win and coveted inductions into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and Country Music Hall of Fame.