Last week, IV and the Strange Band released their new album Southern Circus on Shooter Jennings' Black Country Rock label (order yours). It's an album that toes the line between classic country and heavier rock (they recently toured with Eyehategod), and if you're into either or both of those things, it's very worth listening to. For more on the album, band leader Coleman Williams (great grandson of Hank Williams, grandson of Hank Williams Jr, and son of Hank Williams III, hence "IV") gave us a track-by-track breakdown. Stream the LP and read on for what he had to say...
I traveled a lot to find myself when I was younger. There was a time in that period where I had spent time hopping train lines and became deeply involved in the culture. It’s a very dangerous thing to do but with the bad there were still a lot of silver linings. I figured out though, if you do that long enough you won’t ever come back, so I hung it up. Still a fond time in my life so this song is kind of my rolled together experience of that time and the love I had for it.
2. "Cigarette Ends"
This song is about a person who things fell apart with that I had been with for a long time. They said jokingly when they walked out the door that last time that I was full of stems and cigarette ends. Instead of letting it let me down or bum me out, years later I made it a hook for this song. I also like this one a lot because of the vocal yodel chorus driving the song.
3. "Deep Down"
This song is loosely based off of a serial killer and tells a story of a man killing a woman while unknowingly being hunted by a killer themselves. The narrative itself is kind of a moral that dark souls never meet a happy end. You know, if you hurt the innocent long enough you’ll find someone that isn’t as innocent as you think.
4. "Stand Your Ground"
This song is plain and simple a song about learning lessons from getting your ass kicked. Sometimes people can’t learn the old fashioned way. I’ve been guilty of that many times and this is my positive spin on rough times and laughing about hard days.
5. "Southern Despair"
This song is about how in obscurity and struggle in the south you can either grow from it or let it consume you. Also loosely based off a few experiences in my life from people I knew. I believe southern folks are like steel. The more you beat them down the stronger they become. It’s why I believe southern souls can be really genuine ones at the end of the day.
6. "I’m Gonna Haunt You"
A cover but I reworked it from fast and upbeat to slow and scary to be the country song it is now. It’s the only cover on the album but right when I heard this song I knew I wanted to make it what it became with the band. It’s like I had always heard it my way and thanks to the band it came to fruition.
A love song I wrote about the historic Fugate family of the 1800s about their struggle with the local religious zealots. They were jokingly called the Kentucky Smurfs but they had awful times and fought for the love they had even through persecution. We live in a time where we are so lucky to be able to love who we want and with this one I always try to make people think about that. I’m not saying be with your sibling at all but love is something that doesn’t choose where it lands most of the time.
A story I based off an old newspaper article I found about a couple who after over 60 years of marriage poisoned each other on the same day unknowingly at breakfast. At first I thought how horrible to be killed by your significant other. Though at the end of the day a person who put up with you that long might be the person you want to send you off.
9. "Broken Pieces"
A song simply about the idea someone can’t truly love you unless they know how fucked up you really are. I got to write this song with my wonderfully talented friend Jaime Wyatt. I have a saying I like that if they don’t see the broken pieces they can’t help you build the mirror.
10. "Drinkin’ Sad"
A song I wrote as kind of a homage to the outlaw country bar songs I grew up on. No one wants to drink sad but sometimes that’s just when it comes easy. The tone of this one just always makes me feel like we’re having a ball out there. I love the long solo with the band in the middle of this one, especially when we play it live.
11. Son of Sin"
A song I wrote poking fun at the music industry in Nashville and the way money has become more important than the message. I’ve always felt that the bloodline I’m from seems so packaged and processed now and that ruins it. No one should own a family or the sound of a genre. Sadly sometimes I feel like that about country music, but this was me taking back my small piece.
A song I wrote as a joke at first to just be the most lewd and sleazy lyrics I could think of. We threw in a fun doom breakdown with a poem at the end and it just felt right. I wanted to give the world the country record I wanted to make but still have a little grit to it where I came from in my own backyard with the friends I grew up listening to and thrashing around with.