Hank Williams, Jr. is offering answers to one lingering question about his career. Why is he not a member of the Grand Ole Opry?
“Bocephus” was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2021, but he’s never been embraced by the “show that made country music famous.” His father was a member of the Opry, despite later being fired for missing too many shows. But his father’s firing has nothing to do with his own membership. The Grand Ole Opry simply isn’t something that Hank Williams Jr dreamed about.
“I wasn’t listening to no Grand Ole Opry, brother,” he said on Taste of Country Nights. “Don’t get me wrong. I love going there and being around those guys, but when I’m in that back of that car and I’m 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 years old, I said put it on WLAC, Hoss Allen.”
Before the talk station that it is now, WLAC in Nashville was an R&B station. And when Williams was growing up, Bill “Hossman” Allen was one of the disc jockeys spinning the songs that he loved.
“Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, Bo Diddley. I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah. Put it on that station right there,'” Williams said. “That’s what I was listening to.”
Hank Williams Jr.’s ‘Rich White Honky Blues’
He hones those influences into his latest album, Rich White Honky Blues. The album is his first studio release in six years and it was produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. While his catalog isn’t quite as prolific as it once was, he now seems to invest more time into each project he chooses.
“The blues is where it all comes from,” Williams recently shared to Instagram. “It’s the start of everything musical in my family; everything starts with Tee-Tot and flows from there. I’ve always flirted with this stripped back blues – all the way back to the 80s. But I finally made an album that’s just that, and I like it.”
Hank Hits the Road
Hank Williams, Jr. is taking the new album out on the road this summer. He’ll be on some festival lineups, like the iHeart Media Family Reunion Festival in Simpsonville, S.C. on June 25. Areas are on the schedule, as well.
Among those is a stop at Simmons Bank Arena in North Little Rock, Ark. on August 5. There are also a few amphitheater shows, like a stop at the stately new Orion Amphitheater in Huntsville, Ala. on July 9. Most of the dates keep Hank in the Southeast this summer, but there are stops in South Dakota, Delaware, Oklahoma, Michigan and Ohio, among others. For a full list of this summer’s tour schedule and for ticket information, visit his website.