Columbus, OH, Germain Amphitheater, August 26, 2005


Written and photos by: Jason Perlman

 

For Hank Williams, Jr., life seems to be a tragic happiness. After losing his legendary father at three, Hank Jr. took the stage at 8-years-old to play his daddy's songs, and the story could easily have ended there, with a boy growing up singing his iconic father's hits. But Bocephus didn't take the easy way out, and in fact, took a much bumpier road on his way to fame. Hank Jr. made a career despite having to live in his father's shadow, and he made is own career surpass even that of his father.

Hank Jr. brought is rough and tumble brand of country to Germain Amphitheater and with it, came a variety of fans to witness the event. One could easily assume that Hank Jr. would only attract good ol' country boys, motorcycle mamas and beer-guzzlin' couples, but in fact, the audience was quite eclectic and a mix of everything Columbus has to offer. Although Hank Jr. is the epitome of homegrown country, his fans have found a connection with his songs, whether they are college-going fraternity 20-somethings or 50-something-year-old fans of his daddy.

Bocephus strutted out on stage with his signature black jeans, cowboy shirt and black, ala-Johnny Cash hat. But unlike Cash, Williams has always shown that country can be about the bling, as his belt buckles sparked with silver and his fingers shine of gold and diamonds. But once his deep voice booms into the microphone, his entire image is lost as his words start to take over the night.

Although his last record was released in 2003, Hank Jr. is looking to put out a brand new album in '06 and with that, came some great new material for this show. Hank Jr. also brought his unique style or old-fashioned country and his style of 70s Southern Rock that has really set him apart from most other acts. Whether it is his fan favorite All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down), Dixie on My Mind or A Country Boy Can Survive, Williams has such a library of music to delve into that it seems he could play for two days straight and never play a song twice.

And as much as Hank Jr. still gets around on stage, strutting across the wooded floor like John Travolta in Staying Alive, it is when he picks up his Fender guitar that Hank Jr. seems most at home. Behind is mirrored sunglasses, Hank Jr. strums that guitar much like a woman, with purposeful intentions and rough grace. This is the Hank that should be remembered. Although his style of hip-hop bling-bling get talked about often, and the size of his buckle becomes a conversation piece right in the front row as he performs, Hank Jr. should be discussed for his influence on music and his legacy of working with new artists in the music world. Sure, it's fun to talk about his daddy and his rowdy past, but it's more meaningful and prevalent to talk about his music career. After all, there isn't a country artist living today, nor even a lot of rock bands, that can say they haven't stolen something from the good ol' country boy named Bocephus.

Hank Williams, Jr
Hank Williams, Jr
Hank Williams, Jr
Hank Williams, Jr
Hank Williams, Jr
Hank Williams, Jr