Real and raw: Ray Lawrence Jr.

Published Mar 23, 2012 at 05:00AM

Bend fave Hank Williams III released the equivalent of five records last year, and one of them, “Ghost to a Ghost/Gutter Town,” contains a seven-minute track called “Ray Lawrence Jr.,” featuring ... you guessed it, Ray Lawrence Jr.

The track contains two songs recorded, apparently, in the back of a bus. Because Hank III does what he wants.

Whatever you think of Hank III, give him credit here for shining a spotlight on a truly hidden talent that time was trying to forget. Lawrence is an Arizona-based singer-songwriter with, according to his bio, a rocky past that includes jail time, homelessness, suicide attempts, failed marriages, and substance abuse.

It’s that past, though, that will fuel Lawrence’s future. His brand of country is as real and raw as it gets, where tales of heartache and heartbreak are delivered via acoustic guitar and a voice so perfect for honky tonk it hurts.

This is real country music made by a man who seems almost mythical. And maybe he is. Whatever. Just hear him do his thing at www.reverbnation.com/raylawrencejr.

Ray Lawrence Jr.; 8 p.m. Sunday; $5; The Horned Hand, 507 N.W. Colorado Ave., Bend; www.reverbnation.com/venue/thehornedhand or 541-728-0879.