Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes builds on singer Mike Ness twin footings, one in the haunted American landscapes of Hank Williams and the other in the raw swagger of Exile era Rolling Stones. While these twin pillars have always been behind Social Distortion's anthemic songs, on Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes they come roaring to the fore, in one of the hardest rocking, most soulful albums of Ness's career. From opener California (Hustle and Flow), in a song with enough attitude to redline a '40 Merc, to the dark rockin' cover of Hank William's Alone and Forsaken longtime fans will find the trademark punk roar they love. New fans, too, will be drawn to Ness' maturing songwriting and vocals. Ness produced Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes (his first time at the production helm) with an eye to his rock and roll legacy, and it's not hard to imagine fans of Springsteen or Petty rocking out to these timeless songs.