Hank Williams, Jr.'s "Old School, New Rules"

Hank Williams, Jr.'s "Old School, New Rules"

  • Article by: Jon O'Brien
  • Posted: 07/02/2012

Staunch Republican Hank Williams Jr. has never been one to pull his punches, but ever since comparing Barack Obama to Hitler in a Fox News interview, he appears to have taken his ability to polarize audiences to new levels. Seemingly unperturbed by the resulting fall-out over his comments, the 63-year-old is arguably more determined than ever to step on his ultra-conservative soapbox, judging by his new album, Old School, New Rules.

Indeed, Williams wastes no time in stirring up controversy, kicking off the old-fashioned barroom-blues of “Takin’ Back the Country” with cries of, “Hey Barack, pack your bags, head to Chicago,” whilst also exploring similar President-baiting themes on the rowdy country-rock of protest song, “Keep The Change,” and the twanging Americana of “We Don’t Apologise For America.”

The relentless gung-ho attitude occasionally borders on the downright offensive, particularly the jingoistic Nashville shuffle of “Who’s Takin’ Care of Number One,” but there are also times when Williams’ cartoonish redneck humor could charm even the most radical liberal supporters.

“Cow Turd Blues” is a banjo-plucking hoedown which verges on the parody with such words of wisdom as, “Never kick a cow turd on a hot day.” The feel-good Mavericks-esque “Three Day Trip,” and the surprisingly funky “Stock Market Blues” conclude with slightly surreal spoken-word asides, while “I’m Gonna Get Drunk & Play Hank Williams,” is an infectious duet with Brad Paisley, which is almost as inspired as its title.

Old School, New Rules certainly won’t be for everyone, but fans of unashamedly right-wing country pop are unlikely to discover a more zealous, and indeed comical album, this year.


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