Hank’s Long Shadow: The Legacy Of A Songwriting Great
Hank Williams’ songs have inspired numerous generations of country artists and listeners, so we asked some of the people involved in The Lost Notebooks to share some of their memories of the man and his music.
Michael McCall, Country Music Hall of Fame: The first time I ever drank with my dad, we were listening to Hank. It was when I was living in San Francisco, and he came over to visit. He was looking through my record collection and he pulled out a Hank record, which surprised him. About three or four songs in, he turned it off and says, “Is there a liquor store around here?” He went down and bought a pint of whiskey, and we sat there together drinking and listening to Hank Williams. It’s always been a big memory for me.
Lucinda Williams: My dad played his music all the time at home, so Hank Williams was the background of my world when I was growing up. My dad met him, I guess it was in November or December, right before he died. Hank had just done a show in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and at the time my dad was a struggling poet. Hank asked him what he wanted to drink, and my dad ordered a bourbon, trying to be all sophisticated. Hank got a beer and they talked for a bit. After a while, Hank said to my dad, Williams, you ought to be drinking beer, because you’ve got a beer-drinking soul. He saw through the intellectual poet to the Arkansas country boy beneath.
Holly Williams: When I was growing up, my dad was so famous that I didn’t really understand who my grandfather was. I knew that he was a country singer who had written a couple of songs. My dad would try to tell me about my grandfather’s music, but I was young and just didn’t get it. I started writing songs when I as about 17 or 18, and the artists that I loved – whether it was Tom Waits or Jackson Browne or Leonard Cohen – were all talking about him. I remember thinking, “Wow, this is my grandfather they’re talking about. I need to listen to that stuff.”