Release Date: Jan 15, 2016
Record label: Nash Icon
Genre(s): Country, Pop/Rock, Country-Rock, Outlaw Country, Traditional Country, Southern Rock
Hank Williams, Jr. kicks off It's About Time -- his 2016 debut for Nash Icon, Big Machine's imprint for country veterans -- by singing Neil Young's "Are You Ready for the Country," a song that in this context functions as a bit of a fanfare for Hank Jr.'s trademark redneck defiance. Despite the appearance of Eric Church, country music's modern-day rocking rebel, this cover doesn't pander to a younger audience, nor do any of the other 11 songs on this album.
At 66, country music's cranky uncle has been running a successful cottage industry in right-leaning, media-baiting outlaw posturing for decades. His latest showcases an admirably hot band (as he points out in multiple spoken-word asides), with guests including Eric Church – see the fiddle-spiked, gospel-tinged take on Neil Young's "Are You Ready for the Country?" But the party gets weird around "God and Guns," a hard-rock NRA hand job that's meatheaded and inflammatory. Elsewhere, attempts at pop coalition-building become wishful thinking.