Hank Williams Jr.
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.