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