Honky tonk stink-stirrer Hank Williams III is back with the follow-up to the two-disk "Straight to Hell" with a less ambitious album, but one that is just as defiant and potentially offensive. Once again, however, Williams shows he's a damn good songwriter who aims his pen at more demons and enemies than seems possible for one man.
Williams channels his inner John Anderson on the straight-ahead populist anthem If You Can't Help Your Own and gets help from Marty Stuart on guitar and mandolin on the terrific Wild & Free. On The Grand Ole Opry (Ain't So Grand), he profanely takes on the institution's conservative ways while demanding that his legendary grandfather be reinstated. The toe-tapping jauntiness of Candidate for Suicide betrays the incredibly dark lyrics, while Williams goes it alone on the far-gone-and-out 3 Shades of Black. The 10-minute P.F.F. (Punch, Fight and F**k) is dedicated to G.G. Allin, merging debauched redneck hell-raising and Allin's anti-social vulgarity with sweaty, fist pump foolishness For sure, Hank 3 wildly hits and misses - swearing obscenities the whole time - but his talent shines through, and he always keep things interesting.