Country Mutation

Country singer Hank Williams III — grandson of Hank and son of Hank Jr. — will open eight shows for pop star Beck, beginning Jan. 25 in Austin, Texas. While some think of it as a strange pairing, others recognize Beck as a premier folk artist (of sorts) who has long used elements of country in his music. Beck named his 1998 album Mutations, embracing the impurity of modern music. “You can’t write a pure country song anymore,” Beck said in an interview in the New York Times when the album came out. “You can’t write a pure Appalachian ballad. Because we live in a world where we’ve all heard speed-metal, we’ve all heard drum-and-bass, we’ve all heard old-school hip-hop. Even if you’re not influenced by it or not using elements of it, they’re in your mind.” Also, Beck appeared on a recent tribute album to country-rock icon Gram Parsons.