So you think you know ol Bocephus? Well, get ready for the most outspoken, controversial, flat-out rowdy Hank Williams, Jr. album in years with Old School, New Rules. A clearly energized Hank tackles 11 new songs10 of them self-penned with a vigor and sense of purpose that makes ample use of his remarkable musicality, instantly recognizable vocals, and always-present charisma.
The ideas for the songs that became Old School, New Rules flowed like a river, and Hank started churning out songs quicklyon an iPad these days. "When I came up with that line, they made a huge miscalculation about the mood of this nation," he says, citing a lyric from the impeccably titled "Cow Turd Blues," "I thought, yep, time to get the iPad out and put this down. I really got pretty motivated."
Hanks not pissed off, hes just? concerned, shall we say, about the state of affairs in America. The nightly news gives him plenty of fodder to get those creative juices flowing. "Horrible economy, lots of problems, one of the worst presidents weve ever had, people out of work, this whatever you want to call it, redistribution of wealth. I call it socialism and Marxism myself," he says. "This is a record for its times."
And these days, after working within the confines of the major label system for more than 70 albums, Williams is now free of all restraints and making use of his own Bocephus Records, with a licensing deal with Blaster Records under a Warner Music Nashville distribution deal, as a platform for some of the most powerful songs of his lengthy and hit-studded career. So add "label head" to his long list of accomplishments.
"Im an executive CEO, man!," Hank says with a laugh. "Ill take you fishin, take you on tour, sell $100,000 in t-shirts, whatever, Im a multi-talented dude. Its fun, its real."
Williams has been storing up a cache of songs, and now hes ready to release them on his own imprint. "I saved a lot of stuff back. Keep The Change was the fastest downloaded country song in history, #1 on amazon.com the second day. That was a good way to start. People asked me, whered this come from? Oh, I just had it stuck away in the bottom of the guitar case."
Hank sees plenty of targets for his ire these days, among them Wall Street, the White House, politicians in general, and the state of the nation, not to mention a couple of television networks and the untimely demise of a lengthy, Emmy-winning, 22-year relationship with Monday Night Football. And, of course, everybody knows that as an avid sportsman, Hank Jr. generally hits what hes aiming for.