Country Throwback: Watch Hank Williams Jr. Belt ‘Lonesome, On’ry, and Mean’ in 2016

by Clayton Edwards

Though never released as a single, “Lonesome, On’ry, and Mean,” is one of outlaw country legend Waylon Jennings’ most well-known songs. It tells the story of a man traveling the highways and doing things his own way. It’s a good story. In 2016, Hank Williams Jr. performed the song during a concert.

“Lonesome, On’ry, and Mean” is a modern outlaw ballad. It fits the artists in the outlaw country movement like a glove. It references the rebel attitude, drug use, and in the end, just being tired of dealing with the consequences of that kind of life. Waylon made the song famous, but they’ve both lived it.

Hank Williams Jr.’s performance of the song accentuates those things. He s not just singing a song that he likes. He’s belting out a song that he has lived. In the third verse, which discusses a relationship with a woman who was also lonesome, on’ry, and mean, Hank Jr. really comes alive. In contrast with that, he goes a little more somber moving into the final verse. This verse discusses praying to God for help because he’s tired of being so lonesome, on’ry, and mean.

A Brief History of Hank Williams Jr.

Today, Hank Williams Jr. is one of the biggest names in outlaw country. Nearly every country fan knows “A Country Boy Can Survive” it’s a country classic. Football fans have all heard a version of “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight.” The song has been the theme song of Monday Night Football since the late eighties.

Williams released his first album in 1964. At the time, he was covering his father’s music. He was also trying to imitate Hank Sr.’s vocal style. While doing so, he was also trying to find his own voice. In the mid-seventies, he fell from Ajaz Peak in Montana. The fall almost killed him and while he recovered he developed a new style. This new sound folded some rock and blues into traditional country music.

Hank Williams Jr. had four children. Two of them are recording artists. The younger of the two is Holly Williams. She’s best known for her singles “Mama,” “Sometimes,” and “Keep the Change.” She has three studio albums. The elder of the two is Shelton Hank Williams, better known as Hank Williams III or Hank 3. He has taken his father’s outlaw attitude and modernized it. Hank 3 records country music as well as punk rock and heavy metal. He served as the bassist for the Phil Anselmo-fronted metal band Superjoint Ritual.

Living the outlaw life might have made Hank and Waylon onesome, on’ry, and mean but it created a legacy of the best kind of outlaw country.