“Dead at the age of 29, Hank Williams Snr. nonetheless managed to create such a body of work that he is now seen as the founding father of modern country music. In his short career – only 6 years – he cut over 170 songs, many of them now classics, which have been recorded by nearly everyone who is anyone in country.
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.
True North recording artist Barney Bentall appeared on Beat Surrender back in May of this year with his solo album Flesh & Bone and now he’s back but this time as part of a collaborative bluegrass band The High Bar Gang who have being playing throughout western Canada for the last three years as headliners as well as supporting Blue Rodeo, the bands debut album Lost and Undone : A Gospel Bluegrass Companion features covers of gospel songs made popular by the likes of bluegrass legends Bill Monroe (Walking In Jerusalem, Mothers Only Sleeping) and the Stanley Brothers (Over In Gloryland, Daniel Prayed, Paul & Silas) as well as Hank Williams I Saw The Light and Julie Miller’s All My Tears.
Lead vocal duties on the recording are shared by Wendy Bird, Angela Harris, Shari Ulrich (Vocals, Fiddle, Mandolin) and Barney Bentnall (acoustic guitar) alternating from track through to thirteen with plenty of sweet vocal harmonising to enjoy, track fourteen I Saw The Light is credited to all four voices and the band is completed by bassist Rob Becker, guitarist Colin Nairne with Eric Reed on banjo,mandolin and dobro, keeping the music true to it’s roots the songs were recorded live and in mono.
The album is out now in Canada from True North and from Proper in the UK from December 2nd.
Track-listing (lead vocal)
1. Over In The Gloryland (Wendy Bird)
2. Walking In Jerusalem (Angela Harris)
3. Angel Band (Shari Ulrich)
4. Paul And Silas (Barney Bentall)
5. All My Tears (Wendy Bird, Shari Ulrich, Angela Harris)
6. Daniel Prayed (Wendy Bird)
7. Hand In Hand With Jesus (Barney Bentall)
8. Sinners You Better Get Ready (Shari Ulrich)
9. Green Pastures In The Sky (Angela Harris)
10. Rank Strangers (Wendy Bird)
11. Heaven’s Light Is Shining (Barney Bentall)
12. Mother’s Only Sleeping (Wendy Bird)
13. The Fields Have Turned Brown (Barney Bentall)
14. I Saw The Light (all)
Country artist Joey Allcorn announced that he is launching a crowd-sourcing campaign via Indiegogo.com to record and release an album that will salute the legendary Hank Williams and raise money for the Hank Williams Museum. He will be joined on the project by other artists who are avid Hank Williams fans and supporters of the museum, including Jake Penrod, Rachel Brooke, David Church, Arty Hill, Andy Norman, and Bobby Tomberlin.
Unlike other Hank Williams tribute recordings, this one will not feature any covers of Williams’ classic songs. Instead, it will focus on the mystery, the intrigue, and even the aura surrounding his untimely death. Such important figures as Charles Carr, Hank’s driver on the night he died, and Braxton Schuffert, one of Hank’s earliest musical heroes, both of whom recently passed away, will be a part of the musical story.
Among the songs set to be included are “The Death of Hank Williams,” the first Hank Williams tribute song ever released, “Death is Only a Dream,” Hank’s favorite song according to a 1952 Country Song Roundup interview, and “Midnight,” the last song Hank Williams ever sang while traveling to Canton, Ohio, on December 31, 1952. “I’ve wanted to do a project like this for a long time in order to bring back some of these songs that exist in Hank Williams lore that a lot of his fans might not be very familiar with,” Allcorn says.
Fans can get involved by visiting www.HankRecord.com Allcorn has worked with the Hank Williams Museum in creating incentive packages that offer exclusive Hank Williams memorabilia for contributions. Items offered range from limited edition, exclusive prints to lifetime memberships to the museum. “Most of these items are only available here at the museum,” says Allcorn, “so this is also an opportunity for Hank Williams collectors to obtain some really cool items they can’t get anywhere else.”
The campaign will run through September 1, 2013. Once the funding goal has been reached and recording is complete, the album will be available exclusively from the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. All proceeds from its sale will go directly to the museum and play a role in keeping the world’s largest Hank Williams collection available for his many fans to enjoy for years to come.
In a musical world often pre-occupied with digital perfection, faux beauty and false gloss there are beacons of authenticity that shine with their honesty, live recordings have always being difficult to to pull off, striving for the balance between the raw experience and clarity of sound and production is not a simple task to get right, the solution recording in front of studio audience in a carefully chosen venue with a skilled recording engineer that we are talking about today manages to do it – and do it very well indeed.
Born in the big sky state of Montana’s Coty Hogue now resides in Bellingham WA, her album When We Get To Shore was recorded at Empty Sea Studios a restored Craftsman house in Seattle a venue specialising in acoustic music, for the recorded performance she is joined by fellow Bellingham musicians Aaron Guest (guitar / vocals) and Kat Bula (fiddle / vocals), the album features a blend of Hogue originals, a track from fellow songwriter Sarah Fulford that opens the album, a series of traditional songs and covers of Springsteen’s I’m on Fire the opening track from the classic Fleetwood Mac album Rumours, Second Hand News a track co-written by legends Bill Monroe & Hank Williams, Blue & Lonesome and closes with the wonderful Hazel Dickens track Pretty Bird sung a cappella to spotlight Hogue’s natural gifted vocal talent, elsewhere on the recording sweet harmonies and a smart less-is-more acoustic accompaniment serves the recording well and the whole album is a little gem.