Hank Williams Jr. and The Grascals – “All The Roads”

Juli Thanki | November 12th, 2009

hankjrSongwriter: Hank Williams Jr.

The Grascals are no strangers to the rowdy side of country music, having covered Waylon Jennings’ “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line” on their last album, Keep On Walkin’. Even so, their collaboration with Hank Williams, Jr. on his new single, “All the Roads,” is a pleasant surprise. Not only is it a catchy little number, it–along with several other tracks from Junior’s recent album 127 Rose Avenue–is some of the strongest material the man’s put out in nearly 20 years.

Though banjo and fiddle kick off the song and feature prominently during the next three minutes, “All the Roads” isn’t bluegrassy enough to frighten away the unbelievers–there are no Monrovian high lonesomes, and there are thumping country-rock drums to pound out the beat–but it might lead a few converts over to the Grascals and their irresistible sound. The sextet’s picking is in fine form, with new addition and current IBMA banjo player of the year Kristin Scott Benson delivering some tasty licks on the five string. Singing about waiting for his gal to return to him, Bocephus sounds better than he has in some time: engaged, playful, even downright youthful. Best of all, he’s not rehashing “All My Rowdy Friends” for the millionth time.

The raucous chorus (the best part of the song), on which Hank is joined by the Grascals, details the easy path back to him as the gang sings “I’m gonna keep all the roads open to my heart/Just in case you ever want to come back this way, sweetheart/The gate’ll be open and the door unlocked, so bring your horse and cart.” Where else do these roads lead? Junior’s “cave of love,” in which he is waiting like a hungry grizzly and you, young lady, are his Timothy Treadwell.

“Love caves?” Montana snowstorms? Horses? Dogsleds? At times it’s tempting to wonder just what the hell Bocephus is talking about, but “All the Roads” is so dang catchy that it doesn’t really matter. Turn it up and sing along.

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  1. Chris N.
    November 12, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Timothy Treadwell reference FTW.

  2. Leeann Ward
    November 12, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    This is one of the songs that I downloaded from his album. Good stuff.

  3. Jon
    November 12, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    I don’t think the drums are any more prominent here than on any of a few score Jimmy Martin records. And for those wanting to dig a little deeper, the Grascals’ familiarity with the rowdy side of country music is exemplified by their fine cover of Aubrey Holt’s “Tonight’s My Night To Howl” on their Long List Of Heartaches album, a song that makes Waylon & Co. look durn near respectable (“I’m gonna play loud music, gonna drink hard liquor, gonna chase wild women, tonight’s my night to howl”).

  4. Razor X
    November 12, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Excellent song.

  5. Barry Mazor
    November 12, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    And, also, Hank’s long been a lover of bluegrass. Took banjo lessons with Earl Scruggs years ago, for one thing.

  6. Rick
    November 12, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Its encouraging that Hank Jr. is getting back in the game with some quality material to satisfy his long time fans. Unfortunately major market Top 40 country radio couldn’t care less about a dinosaur from the distant past of country music (i.e. anything prior to Carrie Underwood’s triumphal entry). Looks like Jr. will wind up on the Americana charts along with his daughter Holly and nephew Hank III. At least his new videos earn a few airings on GAC and CMT.

    Just think if there were terrestrial radio stations that specialized in playing new music from traditional country oriented new artists and all the legacy true country artists that have been off the charts for awhile. Hank Jr., Gene Watson, and The Gatlin Brothers could actually be getting some decent on-air spins right now! Oh well…

  7. J.R. Journey
    November 12, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    This was one of my favorites from the album too. Would love to see it get some airplay.

  8. Rick
    November 13, 2009 at 1:15 am

    Well I was listening to Eddie Stubbs via WSM online tonight and he played this new Hank Jr. song and not long afterwards spun a track off Gene Watson’s new album. Eddie and I must think alike! (lol) Now if Eddie would have also played “Johnny Cash Is Dead And His House Burned Down” I’d have gotten a bit spooked!

  9. Keith Kuykendall
    October 8, 2010 at 5:56 am

    I have been a Hank Jr, fan scenice 1978 when he came out with his album family tradition I think it is very very neat that Hank will try any form of music cause he will do country southren rock Blues and bluegrass and he does them all very very well I think he should be in the country music hall of fame along side his daddy

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