The album, titled Rich White Honky Blues, will feature a mix of original tracks alongside covers of classics from Robert Johnson, Lightnin’ Hopkins, R.L. Burnside, Muddy Waters and more. The project pays homage to decades of music and the influence of artists including Waters, Johnson and Rufus “Tee-Tot” Payne, who taught Hank Williams Sr. how to play guitar as a child in Alabama.
“The blues is where it all comes from,” Williams Jr. said via a statement. “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.”
Featured on the album alongside the 72-year-old Williams are electric slide guitarist Kenny Brown, bassist Eric Deaton, drummer Kinney Kimbrough and more.
“If you wanted to play this kind of music, you couldn’t have better players,” Auerbach said in a statement. “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.”
Last year, Williams became a second-generation Country Music Hall of Fame member, when he was formally inducted into the venerable institution (his father Hank Williams Sr. was inducted in the Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 1961, nearly a decade after his death on New Year’s Day in 1953).
On March 23, it was revealed that Hank Jr.’s wife of 31 years, Mary Jane Thomas, died in Florida. Though Williams considered delaying the announcement of the new album, he felt that music offers comfort and solace during hard times.
See the track list for Rich White Honky Blues below:
.44 Special Blues
My Starter Won’t Start
Take Out Some Insurance
Rich White Honky Blues
Short Haired Woman
Fireman Ring the Bell
Rock Me Baby
I Like It When It’s Stormy
Call Me Thunderhead
Jesus Will You Come By Here