Hank Williams Jr. has announced that his 57th studio album, Rich White Honky Blues, will be produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach. It drops June 17th via Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound label.
The 72-year old son of country music legend Hank Williams, Sr. also revealed the album’s opening number and first single “.44 Special Blues.” 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.
In a statement, Auerbach makes those same sonic connections, saying: “The first time I ever saw Hank Jr. on TV, I was a kid raised on Robert Johnson and Hank Williams, Sr. records, and those things came through so clearly watching him. So, I tried to assemble the right parts to just sit in that piece of who he is.”
The accompanying video, directed by Tim Hardiman, finds a solitary Williams performing in a dark, smoke-filled room interspersed with shots of breathtaking sunset views and an appearance by the infamous Devil’s Crossroads sign in Clarksdale, Mississippi where blues guitarist Robert Johnson allegedly sold his soul. Check out “.44 Special Blues” below.
Though Williams Jr. is undoubtedly an icon in his own, his history is not without controversy. In 2011, while appearing on Fox & Friends on Fox News, Williams compared then-President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler. He also said, “They’re the enemy,” referring to Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden. In response, ESPN pulled his theme song, “All My Rowdy Friends,” from Monday Night Football. Williams Jr. subsequently apologized. Auerbach has not addressed that incident.
The album’s announcement arrives just days after the tragic loss of Mary Jane Thomas, Williams’ wife of 32 years, due to a sudden medical procedure complication. The news was first reported on Wednesday via TMZ. Their son Sam shared a statement with People, saying: “My dear Mama Mary Jane was a beautiful soul who forever affected everyone who knew her. She had a smile and presence that lit up every room and she never met a stranger she didn’t befriend. Her spirit was gentle and giving.”
Pre-orders for Rich White Honky Blues are ongoing, while tickets to Williams’ previously-announced summer tour are still available via Ticketmaster.
Rich White Honky Blues Artwork:
Rich White Honky Blues Tracklist:
01. .44 Special Blues
02. Georgia Women
03. My Starter Won’t Start
04. Take Out Some Insurance
05. Rich White Honky Blues
06. Short Haired Woman
07. Fireman Ring the Bell
08. Rock Me Baby
09. I Like It When It’s Stormy
10. Call Me Thunderhead
11. TV Mama
12. Jesus Will You Come by Here
Hank Williams 2022 Tour Dates:
04/01 – Southaven, MS @ Landers Center
05/27 – Billings, MT @ First Interstate Arena at MetraPark
05/29 – Grand Forks, ND @ Alerus Center
06/17 – Des Moines, IA @ Wells Fargo Arena
06/18 – Sioux Falls, SD @ Denny Sanford Premier Center
07/08 – Lake Charles, LA @ Golden Nugget
07/09 – Huntsville, AL @ Orion Amphitheater
07/21 – Monticello, IA @ Great Jones County Fair
07/22 – Dayton, OH @ Nutter Center
07/29 – Salem, VA @ Salem Civic Center
07/30 – Harrington, DE @ Delaware State Fair
08/05 – North Little Rock, AR @ Simmons Bank Arena
08/06 – Durant, OK @ Choctaw Grand Theatre
08/09 – Jackson, MI @ Jackson County Fair
08/12 – Beaver Dam, KY @ Beaver Dam Amphitheater
08/13 – North Lawrence, OH @ Neon Lights Festival