Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Voice of Hank Williams Sr

I had an interesting gig last Thursday. I booked veteran studio vocalist friends Margie Cates and Michael Black to drive out to Hartford, Tn with me and sing on Jet Williams' new album. She is the daughter of Hank Williams, senior. This was contested for quite a while by her brother Hank, but it was adjudicated that she is indeed his half-sister. It was a blast. Bobby Bradley was the engineer who hired us. Bobby is the nephew of the great Owen Bradley, who produced among others Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Buddy Holly.

I was raised listening to my father play Hank Williams songs at our kitchen table to relax after his job as an air traffic controller. It gave me a rush to watch Jet pull out her father 's old acoustic guitar upon which he recorded "Your Cheating Heart". She smiled as I touched the strings. When I turned it over, I could see the worn wood where Hank had held it against him, and there was a scratched place on the front near the bridge where many pick strokes had scraped wood.

She also played us a part of an old radio show that her father sang and did a comedy bit on. This audio ended up in a dumpster at one time. It and many other audio shows were rescued, remastered and will be included in an upcoming Hank Williams Sr. release you will be hearing about in a few months.

This chance meeting with the past reminded me of the first time I ever played the Grand Ole Opry and stood on that worn wood circle they kept at the mic, saved from the original floor. Also the first time I played the Tonight Show and stood behind the curtain waiting to go on, in a spot where so many had waited their own turn in the past.

Hank Williams died way too young, a victim of his substance abuse. But he left a legacy of music that lives on. May we always honor the ones who came before (in every genre), and may we seek to make the kind of music that is good enough to live on, blessing people way beyond our time. If my son remembered his mother's song, I'd say this would be the ultimate in vocal success.

Fyi... is a cool site I've found exploring the web for info you might need. According to their blurb, this site has "Resources for the Recording Musician", including Message Board, How To Guides, Required Reading Book List, Links/Directory, and more. Let me know if you find any good spots!