Hank Williams III
has repeatedly made it clear that he was unsatisfied with his debut album, 1999's Risin Outlaw
. So this time around he took matters into his own hands, producing Lovesick, Broke & Driftin'
himself and recording and mixing the release in a truncated span of two weeks. This appears to have been a good decision for the DNA marvel known as Hank Williams III
, for the album is a much less-forced, more organic effort than his debut. This time around he relies primarily on his own songwriting chops -- with the exception of a questionable version of Bruce Springsteen
's "Atlantic City," which trades the stark power of the original for bouncy honky tonk -- and not on contributions from folks such as Wayne Hancock
. The effort revels in the paradox of being a Hank Williams
; "Calling Your Name" finds him reaching out to the Lord, while "Mississippi Mud" and "Nighttime Ramblin' Man" are fiercely unrepentant, glorying in the allure of long drinking bouts and pot smoking. (The latter being Hank Williams III
's updated spin on the Williams
mythology of debauchery.) The title track is the kind of downtrodden, whiskey-soaked number for which his grandpa was known, while "Lovin' and Huggin'" is more in line with the good-time party anthems his dad has ridden to success. The biggest surprise here, however, is going to be the emotional range of the album; Lovesick, Broke & Driftin'
makes it clear that Hank Williams III
is not content to sit back and trade on legacy. He has emerged as a songwriter to be taken dead seriously.