HANK III – THE REBEL WITHIN (OR: HAVEN'T I HEARD THIS SONG BEFORE?)


First, I’d just like to say that I am a Hank III fan. I’ve been a fan since before ninebullets started, and I’ll be a fan of most of his back catalog long after ninebullets goes dark. With that said, despite having defended Damn Right, Rebel Proud, and this album essentially being the same thing, I find The Rebel Within to be redundant, uninspired at times and down right juvenile at others. I dunno, maybe I’m just moving on or maybe now, two albums removed from Straight To Hell, I am not willing to overlook the cliche anymore. The real fuck of it, the rub if you will, is that you know it’s in there, it flashes once on Rebel Within in the form of “Karmageddon”. I know some are gonna say that this was just something he pushed out to get out from under Curb Records, and if that’s the case I say fine, but no one should buy it. If he was so eager to get away from Curb that he was willing to cobble together a set of songs that should have been on a garage band’s cutting room floor, then he shouldn’t expect people to buy it (viva la torrent!).

Honestly, I hope that’s the case, but my fear is that Straight To Hell was III’s country high water mark and that his real passion lies in Assjack and whatnot cause at this point his “country” thing is turing into little more than a silly caricature.

The good: Hank III – Karmageddon
The bad: Hank III – Gettin’ Drunk and Fallin’ Down
The ugly: Hank III – The Rebel Within

Hank III’s Official Site, Hank III on myspace, Buy The Rebel Within

24 thoughts on “HANK III – THE REBEL WITHIN (OR: HAVEN'T I HEARD THIS SONG BEFORE?)”

  1. Unfortunately I think the Assjack stuff is a bit of a silly caricature too. The Assjack CD that got released last year was already 5 or 6 years old and not really representative of the Assjack that you see live now.

    I have been a fan going on 10 years now. I’m hoping that he can pull out of this slump.

  2. Completely agree. If anything, this would’ve been either a)EP material or b)a website download. Hank III works in much the same way that a band like Ween does–he has devoted fans that snatch up anything he puts out. Though, we diverge when talking about his best record–Straight to Hell was excellent but I still am a devoted fan of “Lovesick, Broke and Driftin'”. Call me a purist.

  3. I heard an interview with Hank a little while ago in which he said that the album was only alright, and didn’t want to put out anything too good for his last Curb record. If that is the case, then I am fine with it, and hope that he releases some more inspired material in the near future.

    I can’t imagine Hank was taking himself too seriously with an album cover like that.

  4. bought it for 3.99 on amazon and am pretty disappointed. i do agree that ‘straight to hell’ was the high point of the grandson of one of country’s greatest stars, definitely a bummer.

    1. I totally agree. STH to me is not his best work. I love Rebel Within. I love every single song on that album. The songs are introspective and deep. STH is about a young kid singing about his rebelliousness. Rebel Within is about a grown man singing about the now sad consequences of his rebelliousness. It is genius. I don’t know how he could say getting drunk and falling down is not a good song. It is a song about a man trying to quit drinking but cannot because of his friends, environment and his own demons. As for the song Rebel Within, the only thing wrong with it, is that cookie monster voice in it, if it wasn’t for that, it would be in the same category of the sth song. That album is his best!!!! whether he realized it or not. You guys just need to get off drugs to appreciate it.

  5. As much as it pains me to say, this album should really be in your “What Not to Buy” post. Hank III likes (or likes to write about) drinking a lot and taking pills. I get it. I got it two albums ago. I’m no prude but there’s gotta more than that. It’s like the joke posted on farcethemusic that 90% of Texas/Red Dirt country songs are about Texas.

    1. If you say this album is about drinking and a lot of pills, you apparently did not listen to this album when you wrote this comment. When you decide to take a look at the man you are inside, then I encourage you to listen to Rebel Within. The entire album is about the singer weighing out the sad consequences of living a rebellious life, all the damage it has done to him. The album is brilliant. I can’t believe you and Hank 3 don’t realize how good this is. It makes me nervous as to what his definition of good is because I can listen to his album all day.

  6. I respect this opinion, and share it in some ways, disagree in others. I give big props to you for having the balls to come out and say what a lot of Hank III fans are thinking, but are too scared to say because of the rabid nature of III’s fandom, of which I am as active as any in. Only wish you might have been a little more in depth.

    I know you mentioned it, but I do think it is worth emphasizing the degree of distaste that Hank III has for Curb records, and how this might be significantly effecting the music he is putting out now. There’s a couple of new interviews that were just posted on my site (shameless plug) where he talks about not ever selling his own CD’s at live shows because he doesn’t want to support Curb. When Curb put out a limited edition box set of his stuff a while back, he told some fans, “I don’t care if you buy that shit or not.”

    III says that he doesn’t have one bit of material written for when he leaves Curb, because then it would be Curb property, but he’s also saying that within a month of leaving Curb, he will have 2 new releases. I don’t know if the new material with prove all the haters wrong, but I do know Hank III thinks it is going to be better.

    And Straight to Hell will always hold up, because it was the first. Yes, DRRP and RW both deserve good hard criticism, and may at best combined make one decent followup to STH, but if you had just written your masterpiece, and seen your label that has been holding you down steal the rights to it, would you want to put forth your best effort again under their umbrella?

    I don’t know the answer, but what I do know is I will be watching intently.

    Another thing that makes me optimistic: Nobody is more critical of Hank III than himself, and he’s pretty much discounted his last two albums even before they came out.

  7. I always thought Straight To Hell was pretty much the same record as Lovesick Broke and Driftin. I pretty much figured he was sticking to the same formula for the most recent releases. Thanks for saving me the trouble.

  8. I’ve been a die hard III fan since around ’99. I saw the tour for his first album and every one since. I’ve enjoyed everything he’s done untill now. I will not be purchasing this album in any form. I agree with everything being said. This is getting ridiculous drinking, drugin’, yeah, yeah we got it. It was kinda cool, but now its getting kinda silly. I read an interview which said he wasn’t going to put out a good album until he was finished with curb. As a devoted fan I hope thats the case

    1. Your comment is an old comment, so am guessing you probably have gotten or have listened to RW by now. This review was very bad. Apparently this guy only looked at the titles of the songs and did not listen to them. The songs in rebel within are all about Hank analyzing his rebelliousness, whether it was all worth it. The songs are very mature. Getting Drunk and falling down that he said is so bad. Well, yeah, the title is funny, but if you listen to the song it is not funny it is very sad. I love that song, that entire album is awesome.

  9. A recording artist should always give it his best, no matter what, under any circumstances.

  10. I am not a Hank III kiss ass or anything of the sort. I interview him every few months and get along with him as professionals and I am certainly not a member of the “III Army”, but in my mind, this album is his best since LBD. How can you say it is redundant? He hasn’t released an album that sounded like this ever. Sure, lyrics may be recycled, but what band or artist that has been in the game so long can come up with a new lyrical style for each album? It’s called a sound. That is what Shelton has, his country sound. I think this is his second best release to date. And, Karmageddon is fantastic.

  11. I certainly don’t have a problem with the “country sound” of this album as stated above. I’m actually a fan of LBD I just wish he would mix it up lyrically…it just seems he’s in a rut. His fans may be drinkers and drugers but we want to hear a little more. I heard that after he splits with curb he’s going to be doing some writing with Wyatt from Those Poor Bastards and others. I’m anxious to see out that goes

  12. Hank III is garbage. Without the bloodline his name would not even be discussed. The premise is poached and lame. The songwriting is a (very small) step above aweful, and the redundancy of his cataloge is enough to make one I’ll.

    I listened to an interview with him on Serius yesterday, and find it hard for him to carry on his charade day in and day out with a straight face.

    Seriously guys…There is tons of great stuff out there on a similar slant….Hank III is a fucking cartoon.

    1. I am black. I hear people say he is riding off of his family’s name. I am not a fan of neither his father nor his grandfather. But I love me some Hank 3 and I love Rebel Within. I do get it that he is an acquired taste, although not in my case. Music is music, we like who we like. Despite his vocal limitations, Hank’s appeal is that he forms a connection through his music. I feel something when I listen to him. He is not simply another singer, singing a nice song. His songs has an effect on me. I have to play his music when I have nothing to do, because I find myself listening to every word. And I don’t do drugs, nor do I even drink, but I feel for the singer and his pathetic life. This is what makes him have a audience, a following, even more so than someone more talented than himself, someone like Ruben from American Idol. Ruben’s voice is one of the most powerful I’ve ever heard., yet we hardly hear anything from him. I suppose there is something in writing your own songs.

  13. First of all if his name was jack bob and not Hank Williams i would still love this album. Secondly, he isn’t trying to make it huge, he just wants to do his own thing. Listen to his lyrics, duh! And last but not least to prove my last point. I am a huge Hank fan and I had absolutely no idea he had this new album coming out. So no obviously i didn’t hear it advertised on the radio 500000 times a day and no i didn’t see it on a commercial or on a pop up on my computer. He does his work puts it out and takes what money he makes and is happy with it. You wont hear him bitching about stupid shit like all the other stupid jerk offs are when they make it big.

    Oh and i do agree that it’s not his best album, but I am very pleased to see a new hank 3 album out and i love it.

  14. I hate country music, but I like this album so far. Moonshiner’s Life is going into rotation when I homebrew beer.

  15. I feel the argument against the idea that he is simply just repeating himself on this album is untrue and has holes in its justification. Yes he does sing about the party life and yes this is a running theme with him but it is not the only theme on this record. This record does not simply sound like a rehash of straight to hell (or any other album in specific either) and I feel he has progressed in a few ays at least. The sound definitely has grown and I feel it is somewhere between STH and LSBD. He also does sing sad songs of heartache, people dealing with addiction, the loss of a mother (I realize it has a funny side to it), moonshiners (in specific the loss of one of the last true Appalachian ones in Popcorn Sutton), etc. I feel that he has branched out with holding back obviously not giving the scum at curb his best songs and therefor losing the rights to it. I also feel that if you don’t like these songs referring to the party life then I am sorry but you just have not been listening to country this is nothing new. This is nothing new simply for country but pop music in general whether it be anything across the board country (cmon look at all the running jokes about George Jones his lawnmower and his drinking), folk, rock, Punk to RnB, Hip Hop, Reggae, Opera, etc.

    Now when people talk about the IIIrd being redundant (or whatever term you want to use). They only talk about the theme of the party life leaving out another reoccurring theme in his music but also a reoccurring theme from almost every bit of music out there. This theme is love and heartbreak in specific. The heartbreak of losing someone in specific. Hank III has been writing songs about losing love and heartache/break since the beginning but no one refers to this being a problem that he is not mixing it up with this. Whats next are you gonna say that Johnny Cash was being redundant singing gospel songs? This attack is simply unjustified because he is not afraid to speak frank and direct about the party life and maybe you are simply looking for a reason to not like or simply attack this record without actually really thinking about it. Why don’t you carry out this idea to other themes? It seems like some may be simply looking for a reason to attack without having any actual justification. This being said I am fan but I can say that I am not someone who will just buy into anything simply because someone has done it even if I don’t like it. I also feel that even if I like an artist this does not stop me from being critical. Reading this critique and the follow up comments just shows how most music critics fit well within vice magazines standards that being childish, lacking any true credibility, simply following along with whatever is cool/hip and being unable to write anything truly interesting to say when critiquing.

  16. When I first listened to III, before Straighty to Hell, I wasn’t impressed. I am a fan of the kind of country he plays, but at that point I had heard it done better. But Straight to Hell knocked me out of my boots, and I am a III-fan since that cd. If you don’t like STH, don’t bother listening to what he released since then. If you DO like STH, I can understand the criticism that Damn Right.. and The Rebel Within are just more of the same, and not a step forward. I feel that way too, but I still love it. It pushes the boundaries of what is called countrymusic in a way no one else does. Hank Sr is rattlin’his bones in approval, with his skull turned into a big smile.
    I for sure am looking forward to III’s post Curb efforts, and I find it way too easy to say his latest cds suck because it’s only about drugs, booze and sex. To me III makes the best damn real countrymusic, and his biggest mistake may have been signing with Curb in the first place.
    20 years ago the Beat Farmers played in my town (anyone remembers Country Dick Montana?). They put up a handmade banner on the wall behind the drumkit, saying “FUCK CURB RECORDS”. They had a deal and didn’t get any support. And that’s 20 years ago, III wasn’t even recording then. Let’s make Curb-Records the symbol of the demise of the music-industry, don’t buy anything they release, check Yep-Roc or Bloodshot, there’s loads of good music to be heard. And just wait what III is going to do in 2011, when he is finally f***ing free.

  17. First of all, you stupid idiot’s, if you actually read the information givin to ya, Hank didn’t write Karmageddon, he sang it. And if ya don’t like it, don’t fuckin buy it. Do you think you can do better? And as for him not caring what he write’s being with Curb, I think he has proved well enough to everyone he write’s amazing music, and if they don’t allow him to put out the music he love’s, why should he give a shit. Give it a rest, and I am sure he doesn’t give two shit’s what we think. He love’s what he does, and he is damn good at everything he does. Read a little deeper on your info and maybe you might understand, and learn to not be so god damn judgmental.

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