Hank Wil­liams Jr.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - WHAT'S UP - — ALEXAN­DER NI­COLL ANICOLL@NWADG.COM

Hank Wil­liams Jr. can’t tell you how many times he’s been to Ar­kan­sas. He knows it’s a lot, but after tour­ing since the age of 8 years old, he’s lost count.

He can tell you what his fa­vorite thing to do is when he vis­its.

“I have gone fish­ing in Ar­kan­sas many times, and that is a hell of a lot more fun than com­ing there to work,” Wil­liams says via email.

Fish­ing might not be on the sched­ule when he comes to per­form at the Wal­mart Ar­kan­sas Mu­sic Pav­il­ion on Satur­day but one thing is for sure: The star will bring his South­ern coun­try rock to the masses.

Fans will be treated to new tracks but they’ll also get to hear some of the clas­sics from ole’ Bo­ce­phus him­self.

“I play a few songs from the al­bum, some cov­ers and lots of the hits every­one ex­pects to hear,” he says.

Wil­liams’ il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer has spanned the bet­ter part of five decades, and the coun­try leg­end has no plans to slow down. He’s cut back on the num­ber of shows he does a year, but he still has an­other 20 years left in him thanks to the changes in the in­dus­try, he says.

“The mu­sic busi­ness has changed so much from the early days of tour­ing in one bus or sta­tion wagon with sev­eral artists to­gether to now, where it’s about jets and many buses,” Wil­liams ex­plains. “I guess that’s why I only do about 25 shows a year. I am spoiled by the fans.”

The Louisiana na­tive dropped his most re­cent al­bum, “It’s About Time,” on Jan. 15, of last year, and it peaked at No. 15 on Bill­board’s Top 200 al­bums list. It marked his 37th stu­dio al­bum and climbed all the way to No. 2 on the Bill­board Top Coun­try Al­bums.

That al­bum fea­tures new hits in­clud­ing “Are You Ready for the Coun­try,” “Dress Like an Icon” and the tit­u­lar song “It’s About Time,” but he has some mu­sic for his older fans with re-recorded ver­sions of “Men­tal Re­venge” and “Born to Boo­gie.”

Wil­liams took the time to an­swer a few ques­tions for What’s Up! be­fore his up­com­ing show.

Q. What was the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind your most re­cent al­bum, “It’s About Time”?

A. Well, mak­ing this record was very dif­fer­ent. I left Curb Records and put out a record on my own. Then my man­ager called and said that Scott Borchetta at Big Ma­chine Records wanted to do an al­bum. Ken said, “Well, you can do what­ever you want.” So I wrote some of the songs, and we se­lected some from other writ­ers. It felt re­ally good to make this record, and then when it de­buted at No. 2 on the Bill­board chart, made it even that much more spe­cial.

Q. What’s your fa­vorite song on the al­bum? Why?

A. As a song­writer you can never pick one song. Ev­ery song is spe­cial and like a child. You don’t pick one over the other.

Q. What was it like work­ing with Brant­ley Gil­bert, Justin Moore and Brad Pais­ley on “Born to Boo­gie”?

A. I have done shows with Justin, and he is just like me. He would rather be on the lake with a fish­ing pole than any­where else. Brad and I have done many things, too. Brant­ley is on the la­bel, so I think they wanted that to hap­pen. So when we put it all to­gether, it turned out great. But, hon­estly, I didn’t want to do it. I said, “That’s al­ready a hit song that peo­ple want to hear at the shows, so why waste the stu­dio time?” But, I guess younger peo­ple have dis­cov­ered the song.

Q. What was your re­ac­tion to get­ting the news that “All My Rowdy Friends Are Com­ing Over Tonight” will be played again be­fore Mon­day Night Foot­ball?

A. It felt like I was go­ing home. It is go­ing to be great with the new ad­di­tions.

Q. Do you have any new mu­sic in the works?

A. No, not right now.


Coun­try mu­sic leg­end Hank Wil­liams Jr. re­turns to Ar­kan­sas on Satur­day for a show at the Wal­mart Ar­kan­sas Mu­sic Pav­il­ion. Doors open at 6 p.m.

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