Saturday, 18 February 2017

Wheeler Walker Jr. prepares another broadside assault on Nashville with release of "Ol’ Wheeler"


Unrepentant country music outlier set to release second Dave Cobb-produced album on June 2; NSFW lyric video for first single “Pu$$y King” 
unveiled Feb. 14 with  Rolling Stone Country
(proceed with caution) * Warning Language *

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017

Wheeler Walker Jr. Credit: David McClister
Nashville pariah Wheeler Walker Jr. just keeps challenging the country music status quo. The singer, songwriter and trailblazer is back with his second album, Ol’ Wheeler, due June 2 via Thirty Tigers.
To celebrate the news, the “unfathomably obscene and undeniably offensive” (Rolling Stone Country) singer is releasing the unfathomably offensive and undeniably obscene lyric video for first single, “PU$$Y King,” on Valentine’s Day. 

The album also goes to pre-order on Pledge Music and the song goes to iTunes.

“I didn’t think I could make an album better than the first one. But I did,” admits Walker. “Like lot of people, I’ve learned never to doubt the greatness that is Wheeler Walker, Jr.”
The release of "Pu$$y King" follows his performance of "Fist City" at the fourth annual pre-GRAMMY Americana Music Association concert -- a salute to country music pioneer Loretta Lynn where Walker shared the stage alongside GRAMMY winner Lori McKenna, critically-acclaimed songwriter Brandy Clark, Kesha, and more. Rolling Stone extract: Walker – the alter-ego of comic Ben Hoffman – was a surprise guest at a tribute to Loretta Lynn at the Troubadour in Los Angeles last weekend, turning in a faithful version of "Fist City" to a crowd of bemused onlookers including Brandy Clark, Kesha, John Carter Cash and Rory Feek.

Walker has reassembled the team that turned debut Redneck Sh*t into the surprise hit of 2016 with producer Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell) at the helm of a crack band of Nashville’s best players. Walker’s debut went to the top of the Billboard Comedy Albums chart upon its release last February and debuted at No.9 (5,780 copies sold) on the Country Albums chart – marking the first time in nearly a decade an album appeared on both. The most recent comedy LP to bow in the top 10 was Larry the Cable Guy’s 2007 LP Morning Constitutions (No. 5, 56,000).

His irreverent REDNECK SH*T (Pepper Hill/ Thirty Tigers; Amazon UK - UK iTunes -, his first entry on the chart also landed at No.127 on Billboard 200.  Rollingstone wrote: ...In a week where an album of hymns and gospel songs (Joey+Rory) tops the Billboard Countrys Album chart, the polar opposite sits only a few notches below at Number Nine: Wheeler Walker Jr.'s debut album Redneck Shit. The demon brainchild of comedian Ben Hoffman, Redneck Sh*t leaves no group unoffended, as Hoffman's outlaw-country alter-ego sings about all manners of deviance. "The goal was I wanted to make a really funny record that is as good as any country album that you're going to hear this year," Hoffman says. "I know I'm not as good as Sturgill [Simpson] or Waylon [Jennings], so I'd never compare myself. But as far as the contemporary country I hear, I think this stands up."

REDNECK SH*T easily outpaced debuts from Wynnona (WYNONNA & THE BIG NOISE; #14 Country; 4,701 copies), Brett Young’s self-titled 6 track EP (#35 Country; 1,300 copies) and Lorrie Morgan’s LETTING GO... SLOW which debuted at #47 Country selling just 800 copies. His “best country but unplayable album” later made a re-entry at No.108 on the Billboard 200 (#14 Country) selling another 3,003 copies (chart dated May 4, 2016).
To date REDNECK SH*T has sold 37,200 copies in America.
The album has charted in the Top 5 on UK Country iTunes and made the Top 100 all UK iTunes genre chart in April 2016
UK Country iTunes dated Sept 2, 2016

Critical Acclaim:
(Country Music People March 2016; 4 Stars) ...the album isn’t for everyone and even people who don’t have a problem with swearing may tire of the content after a while - Adrian Peel (Country Music People, The UK’s leading country publication “From Austin To Nashville And Beyond”)
Saving Country Music (Rating: 1 3/4 of 2 Guns Up 8/10)....It was a friendship with Sturgill Simpson—a fan of Ben Hoffman’s The Ben Show on Comedy Central—that resulted in Hoffman getting hooked up with producer Dave Cobb, and eventually in a studio with a crack team of session musicians cutting completely inappropriate country songs in a totally authentic manner.......The genius of Redneck Sh*t is how each of the 11 songs is perfectly structured and stylized to reflect a specific era or influence in classic country music, making the album a really strong country music experience beyond the lyrics. The music of Redneck Sh*t is excellent.

It was quite the rally for a singer whose backstory is littered with fistfights, drunken mistakes, unfortunate choices and straight-up cuckoldry. Some might say it was a miracle considering he’d already pissed away three record deals and put out an album with song titles like “Fu*k You B*tch,” “Sit on My Face” and “Better Off Beatin’ Off.”

Regardless, the album’s success sets up Wheeler with one of the buzzier releases of 2017, and he’ll be hustling his ass hard at places like the Academy of Country Music Awards in April and the CMA Music Festival in June in a ballsy attempt to grab your attention. You can expect more outrageous publicity stunts – the guy released his video for “Drop ‘Em Out” on after all – and libellous statements throughout.

For more information:
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