Wednesday, August 4, 2021

What Makes This Musician Great?–Hank Williams

This is the second installment of the series ‘What Makes this Musician Great,” and will focus on the man from Butler County, Alabama – Hank Williams.  In this ongoing series, I explain what makes Southern musicians and their music so great and worth remembering while using non-technical language that can hopefully be understood by non-musicians, and this is the perfect format for an artist like Hank.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people get Hank’s timeline wrong in their heads, and they generally think of him as being a later phenomenon of the mid- to late-50’s instead of the late-40’s and early-50’s.  He signed with MGM Records in 1947, appeared on the Grand Ole Opry for the first time in 1949, and died on New Year’s Day 1953 at the incredibly young age of 29.  His superlative talent is divided into Hank the Songwriter and Hank the Performer.  While either of those gifts would have been enough alone to put him on the map, Hank made abundant use of both to rocket him into legendary, once-in-forever status.  Therefore, in explaining what makes Hank Williams, I must start with his exclusively iconic way of telling his own stories in a way that completely draws you in.

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  1. Hank Sr. was born with spina bifida and was self medicating for the pain. His eye sight was bad too and he couldn't see very well without glasses, but he never performed with glasses on.
    Hank Jr. gradually developed a self medicating problem too. He actually put on good shows when Miss Audrey had him under her control but when he broke free he turned into a drunk. Last show I went to of his he was sloppy drunk. He fired all of his band right in the middle of the show, ran them off the stage, took off his shirt and started playing bongo drums. Terrible performance.

    1. Well, it's great that you were there at least.