Born 17th September 19 1923
His first songs were made and released 60 years ago in 1946 after he moved to Nashville and impressed the legendary Fred Rose who took the 23 year old Hank under his wing, acting as his manager, record producer and co-writer. Williams soon became a regular on the prestigious radio show “The Louisiana Hayride” and then later at the classic country venue the Grand Ole Opry; on his first appearance he performed his first hit “Lovesick Blues” leading to an unprecedented six encores.Hit after hit came from his pen – “I’m so Lonesome I could Cry”, “Long Gone Lonesome Blues”, “Moanin’ the Blues”, “Why don’t you Love Me?”, “Cold Cold Heart”, “Your Cheatin’ Heart” “Hey Good Lookin'” and “Jambalaya” being just a very few of the classic numbers that in later years became hits for artists like Tony Bennett, Jo Stafford, Joni James and the Carpenters.
Hank Williams’s life was a troubled one – spina bifida made worse through a riding accident caused him constant pain and he drank to excess and took drugs, mostly painkillers; but on top of that, he was one of the music business’s first rowdies – he played with guns, destroyed hotel rooms and generally acted out a life style the rock stars of the 60s thought they had invented.
He was fired from the Grand Ole Opry and the 50s saw his career decline as musicians and booking agents increasingly saw him as a problem. He battled with his mother and wife Audrey, whom he divorced and then later with second wife Billie Jean Jones; his early death came, ironically, in the back of a car after the plane hired to take him to a gig had been cancelled because of a blizzard – ironic because the gig was to feature Hawkshaw Hawkins, who later died in a plane crash with Cowboy Copas and Patsy Cline, a crash caused by…. a blizzard.
Since that tragic death, Hank Williams’s star has risen to the point where country stars of every stripe acknowledge him as the founding father – many have name-checked him in songs, such as Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, Tim Hardin and Moe Bandy “
Perhaps currently best known for being Damien Jurado’s lead guitarist, Courtney Marie Andrews has been on the road since she was 16 years old, when she left home in Arizona for her first tour. She travelled up and down the West Coast, busking and playing any bars or cafés that would have her. Soon after she took a Greyhound bus four nights straight from Phoenix to New York to do the same on the East Coast. For a decade or so since, Courtney’s been a session and backup singer and guitarist for nearly 40 artists but has never stopped writing her own material. Picking up admirers like Damien Jurado and Ryan Adams along the way, she has quietly earned a reputation as a songwriter’s songwriter.
Courtney explains how the lyrics of “How Quickly Your Heart Mends” are based upon a lady she met whilst working at a small town bar: “During my bartending shifts I had met this woman many times. She is beautiful, but still somehow she searches for love that is a faded red, white and blue. In some ways she is strong for enduring so much heartbreak. In other ways she is naive for believing that love can save her and that it’s hers to own. I’ve always been drawn to the flaws in my characters because that is what makes them more relatable and more human.”
As the song goes “The jukebox is playin’ a sad country song / For all the ugly Americans / Now I feel like one of them / Dancin’ alone and broken by the freedom”. It’s really no wonder Ryan Adams called Courtney Marie Andrews “a phenomenal songwriter”.
“How Quickly Your Heart Mends” is released 26th August 2016 and is taken from Courtney Marie Andrew’s forthcoming album “Honest Life”, out 20th January on Loose and available to pre-order now on 180g turquoise vinyl, CD & download.
John Prine/Iris DeMent – Who’s Gonna Take The Garbage Out
John Prine/Lee Ann Womack – Storms Never Last
John Prine/Alison Krauss – Falling in Love Again
John Prine/Susan Tedeschi – Color of the Blues
John Prine/Holly Williams – I’m Telling You
John Prine/Kathy Mattea – Remember Me (When Candlelights Are Gleaming)
John Prine/Morgane Stapleton – Look At Us
John Prine/Amanda Shires – Dim Lights, Thick Smoke and Loud, Loud Music
John Prine/Lee Ann Womack – Fifteen Years Ago
John Prine/Miranda Lambert – Cold, Cold Heart
John Prine/Kathy Mattea – Dreaming My Dreams With You
John Prine/Kacey Musgraves – Mental Cruelty
John Prine/Iris DeMent – Mr. & Mrs. Used to Be
John Prine/Fiona Prine – My Happiness
John Prine – Just Waitin’