The recent parade of impressionists on Letterman has nothing on Hank Williams Jr.
When he was just a cub, he sounded more like his father than his father himself — and by the time he'd fallen off a mountain (which destroyed most of his face) and returned to performing in a bear suit, he could nail all the inflections of George Jones and Merle Haggard as well. Mostly he was just Bocephus, a hard-shell honky-tonker with a Southern-rock attitude, writing classics such as "Family Tradition" and "Whiskey Bent (and Hell Bound)" before succumbing to abject redneck pandering and fake duets with his dead dad. His recent work, especially the down-homey Almeria Club Recordings
, has hinted at revival. Whether his new renegade friends Gretchen Wilson and Big & Rich can bring him all the way back remains to be heard.