If you read one of my early posts about my new-found discovery of my enjoyment of country music, then you know that my love of this genre is relatively new to me.
Like the blues, my passion started with a more contemporary bluesman (Lightnin’ Hopkins), but as I get deeper into the music, I uncover the artists behind them. In this case, I started with Townes Van Zandt and saw Hank Williams behind him.
Hank Williams died at the age of 29, but because of his more contemporary existence, we have MANY high quality recordings, photographs, and videos of him. This accessibility humanizes him in a way the old bluesmen were not, and so he becomes relatable.
Over the years, hundreds of artists have covered his songs and you can hear his music in movies and television shows as well. Hank Williams was a legend, and his influence is still felt today.
Some of my favorite covers were by Ray Charles; two of the best were his covers of Your Cheating Heart and Take These Chains from my Heart and Set Me Free (which we luckily also have videos of!):
Here are a few curated selections of Hank Williams performing in the 1950s:
Hank Williams also had a son, also named Hank Williams, who grew up to be a major country and country rock player. He filmed an interesting music video in the 1980s which featured special effects allowing him to play with his deceased father:
I hope you enjoy listening to Hank Williams as much as I do. If you listen to his lyrics you will uncover a truth and beauty not present in a lot of his contemporaries.
He was a real poet in a cowboy hat.