Hank3 On “Lost Notebook of Hank Williams” Project

August 11, 2011 - By Trigger  //  News  //  30 Comments

When Hank Williams III started his country music career in the late 90’s, his neo-traditionalist sound and spitting image of his grandfather awakened the imagination of country music traditionalists that we were seeing the resurrection of the King of country music himself. With a similar style of yodel and moan, and the ability to write simple, but heartfelt and true songs, Hank III seemed the best equipped to carry on the Hank Williams legacy.

These days the yodel is gone, and Hank3 might be better known for his blending of country with punk and metal influences than his simple, neo-traditional approach, but with his campaign to Reinstate Hank Williams to the Grand Ole Opry and willingness to call out elements of the country establishment who threaten the preservation of its roots regardless of the outcome of his career, Hank3 is still taking the point in the fight for preservation of the Hank Williams legacy.

That is why when the Lost Notebook of Hank Williams project was announced, many Hank 3 fans, and many others familiar with Hank3’s work were wondering where his name was in the track list. If anybody was qualified to finish a work started by Hank Williams nearly 60 years ago, it would be him. In an interview with Adam Sheets on No Depression, Hank3 ended the speculation on if he had been asked to be a part of the project, and gave his thoughts on people completing his grandfather’s unfinished songs.

…I wasn’t asked and the only thing that rubs me wrong is I hear that certain people might be completing unfinished songs and that just doesn’t seem that right to me. You know, that’s the only thing I have to say about it. I have nothing against Bob Dylan, nothing against Jack White, any of those kind of people. It just seems strange for somebody to be given that opportunity to say they’ve co-written a song with Hank Williams 50 years later of whatever. You know, that thing’s been in the works for a long time…

Who knows why [he wasn’t asked to be part of the project]? Maybe they think, ‘well, he’s been out there doin’ his own thing so much…When you’re dealin’ with all that business and the Bible belt and the ways certain people think, man, it gets pretty complicated. I don’t know. It’s not like some normal tribute record. There’s a lot of weird elements to this thing and it keeps comin’ up in interviews I’ve been doin’. I don’t know.  I’ll just say the same thing: it seems a little strange for somebody to finish a half-finished Hank Williams song.

Hank3 has an unprecedented 4-album release coming up on September 6th, and will be on a month-long tour starting September 5th.


30 Comments to “Hank3 On “Lost Notebook of Hank Williams” Project”

  • Guess that clears that up….shocked that he wasn’t asked, messed up

  • (English is my second language, sorry ’bout the probable mistakes)

    We can’t say too much about the musical quality of this project by now – despite of some strange names on the tracklist. But this is highly questionable from the ethical point of view. Has Dylan said anything about how did he obtained these songs? Why Holly, not Hank3? Too obscure for me.

  • FUCK ‘em! Just keep on bein yerself.

  • They should have just left the songs alone.

    “I’ll just say the same thing: it seems a little strange for somebody to finish a half-finished Hank Williams song”

    That pretty much says it all.

  • Wow had much love for jack white ,yet if someone had those notes I still wouldn’t use them. It sounds like ol freewheelin bob dylan paid big bucks for these. Why make a record unless it is for $$$$$.we all know bob doesn t need $ yet why wouldn t he put in museum,or give to williams family. It sounds to me like stolen property,its a SHAMEand a sham. Don t buy the cd.

  • I want to hear it but I wish I could hear Hank 3 singing it even more. Most importantly I want to read the lyrics before they are changed or “finished.”

  • man, i would be so angry… imagine someone you don’t know would “finish” your grandads work… it’s like they steal something from your family…

  • If you want to read the hand written lyrics for over half of these songs pick up the 2001 book “Snapshots From The Lost Highway.” There are scans of Hanks handwritten lyrics to over half of these songs. I don’t understand the whole “possessive attitude of this material, they have been written and published via Acuff-Rose and as long as someone pays the mechanical royalties anyone is free to record them. If Hank Jr, or Hank III so desired to record these songs they could have. It’s not like they were obtained through some top secret covert method. They were published in a book 10 years ago!

    • …’s about the audacity of some stranger thinking they know what belongs in Hank’s unfinished songs. As far as I am concerned the songsl remain “unfinished” and they are Hank’s….that is where the “possession” fits in.

  • Most people dont know that Hank actually did a lot of co-writing “Jambalaya” was just one of them. Fred Rose actually finished a lot of Hank’s songs as well. I would like to see what Shelton could do with some of this new lyrics too.

    • I’ve always heard that “Jambalaya” was bought off another songwriter for peanuts and that Hank and Fred Rose just slapped their names on it. I would question if Fred Rose actually wrote anything, or just gave himself writer credit, as was common for labels to do in those days.

      • It was Moon Mulican that co-wrote the song. Hank put his name on it but it had more to do with Moon’s deal. A lot of writers back in the day would get together and write a few songs at one sesesion. Sometimes writers would agree to take one or two and the other writer would do the same.

        I think its great that Jack White and Dylan are finishing these songs. WHY because it will get the kids that think Taylor Swift and Lady antiibellem are country to go and find out about Hank Sr. Then they will discover Shelton and others. Otherwise their only idea of Hank will be a picture they saw in Nashville on a family vacation.. You ask most 20 somethings today if they like country and its the pop shit that pops into their heads. You may think so what,, but this is the biggest age group that buy records and go to shows, So in a way they decide what gets out into the main stream. We need to put real talent like Dale Watson, Jr Brown etc. on radio and in the stadiums. Instead we get these wimps who have to sing through racks of vocal tuners and their Dad puts up a couple of $million to their radio promo.

        • This gateway drug theory is asserted on this website often, but I have never seen it in action. Lady Antebellum fans will not be listening to this album. Not only will they see Hank Williams and Bob Dylan as crusty old men, at this point they see Jack White and Jakob Dylan as crusty old men. This is for the NPR and country legacy act crowd.

          I hope this album is good. If we can’t control what is happening with these songs, then dammit, the artists picked better put everything they have into these songs. But the bar is going to be set really high.

          And you may think it is great that they are finishing these songs, but I want an answer of why we are being told the idea for this album originated AFTER the songs had already been recorded? Where is Willie Nelson’s contribution. Why wasn’t Hank3 asked, but Holly was? Why did they feel fit to lie that at one point the songs were stolen when a judge said they weren’t?

  • I see where 3 is coming from. I understand why people have issues with this release. I cannot for the life of me understand why Hank3 wasn’t approached and Holly was… But I want to hear this.

  • This has to be illegal. But hell look what’s going on in nashville and now this is anybody really suprised that this is going on? Holly was approached bc of her music being mainstream. Hank3 isn’t mainstream but is a hell of a lot better. There’s only one person who will ever come close to the talent of Hank and that’s 3. But hey that’s just my oppinion. I think this should be stopped but seeing as its mainstream pop people doing it it won’t be. You also gotta look I think holly amd Jr are a lot closer than 3 and Jr or that’s the way it seems so if they put her on the album then it will make daddy happy and he won’t sue over the shit.

  • I think it’s unsettling that these people are not only trying to finish up these songs lyrically, but musically as well. A song is not just lyrics…it is the music COMBINED with the lyrics. Who knows HOW hank Williams was trying to present these songs? One prime example of 2 COMPLETELY different interpretations of a song and how the song almost takes on a completely different meaning is Blondie’s version of “Heart of Glass” v.s. Old School Freight Train’s slowed-down version of the song (both are on youtube). Both are excellent in their own right, but the slow version rips at your heart and makes you REALLY feel the pain of having your heart broken. Blondie’s disco version makes me feel like, “yeah…I had my heart broken, but I’m over it and I’ll be fine”. Same exact lyrics, 2 totally different interpretations. If the Williams family (Shelton included) aren’t the ones in COMPLETE control of this project, the lyric sheets should be put in a museum and preserved as-is.

    • The originality lyrics will still be there. They aren’t going any where, they’ll be just fine. I don’t understand why yall are making this out to be an either-or type of thing. After this album comes out, Hank 3 could still take the lyrics and make a totally different version of the song out of those. I think that it really comes down to interpretation. Hank 3’s interpretation of one of the songs sure as hell would be different from Sheryl Crow or Jakob Dylan’s interpretation, but what’s to say it’s better. Whats to say Old School Freight Train’s version of Heart of Glass is better than Blondie’s. You and I might like Old School Freight Train’s version better, but that doesn’t mean that Blondie shouldn’t have recorded it. Music’s nothing more than what you get out of it.

  • All and all its sounds like a big stinking load of horse shit I don’t know how I would feel even if 3 were Doin em cause nobody can know what’s Goin through dead mans head. And all those saying jr can’t sing like his dad he could but audrey forced him to when he was younger and he chose to make his own sound. But either way like I said before sommethin here stinks. Horse shit

  • Better left alone. Not one of these works will sound as if they were a Hank Williams original because there is no frame of reference. So this amounts to a stunt.

  • No need to buy it from the sounds of it. I’m going to liken it to this thought . . . I am an occasional treasure seeker. I love auctions and flea markets and yard sales and the like. If I came upon an old treasure (unfinished songs) and then took the liberty of finishing them (for my own pleasure) is one thing. If it’s a tribute then it’s a tribute but half-finished property of Hank Williams finished by a third party and Shelton is not even asked? That puts a different spin on it iffn’ you ask me. And iffn’ you don’t ask me, I’ll tell ya anyhow. Why wouldn’t Bob Dylan want the blessing of Hank’s family? After all, they were the property of Hank, i.e., a little piece of HIS heart and soul. Don’tcha think that might mean something to Shelton?

  • 3 said pretty much exactly what I was thinking about this thing. There’s nothing expressly ‘wrong’ with it, but it’s sort of weird. I’d be a lot more comfortable with it if it were somebody doing this on their own.

    The way it was set up and stands right now, I have trouble believing that there’s any real feeling behind this. I can’t see it as being done for profit alone, as there’s not enough big names to justify that (and I think Dylan could have pulled in whomever he wanted for this), however, it’s certainly a novelty.

    If I were asked to be on this album, I’d feel a bit like I was being asked to wear one of his suits. It’s a cool relic to look at and touch, but something in which I do not belong. However, obviously there are enough artists out there who feel differently.

  • It’s pretty sick. The contents of this notebook should have never been released in the first place. It’s an immense invasion of privacy. These songs should remain unfinished in the form that Mr. Williams left them. With Bob Dylan
    and Jack White being such huge Hank Williams fans, I wonder how they haven’t heard a real foot-stomper of his aptly titled, “Mind your own business.”

  • some folks get it… if I remember right. Tom Waits refused to play Leadbellys guitar, when offered… kinda the same….. kinda, that gearing might take the same here….. a “no thanks” if it was offered to Waits…

  • It’s just weird. Doesn’t sound like something I’d be interested in buying. Why would I when I can just listen to the real thing?!? Maybe this is just something Dylan and White fans will be interested in.

  • I see where 3 is coming from. Hank sr. music is a very pure form of country music. To have song writers finish something that only he would know what made him write seem wrong and just a money grab.

  • It’s common for a dead artist’s “unfinished” work to be “finished” if there is a demand. The major problem here is not asking sensible people to work on the project. The choices look commercial, not artistic. And yes, if you’re doing anything with Hank Sr.’s work, Hank III should be included. That shouldn’t even have to be debated…

  • I’m confused. If HW3 thinks it’s somehow wrong to complete the songs, why would he want to be a part of the project anyway?
    Or is it ok to complete the songs only if HW3 is a part of it?
    This is not a new project. Anyone who follows Hank Williams or Bob Dylan know that this project has been in the works for at least several years.
    Now that there is finally going to be a release and presumably some bucks involved, all of a sudden HW3 and his groupies are all hot and bothered over it.
    It is obviously not an attempt on anyone’s part to separate Hank’s family from his legacy since Holly is on the record.

    • Well iff’n respect isn’t in your vocabulary, I guess you wouldn’t understand.

  • This is such a great tribute to an amazing musician! I’ve been listening to it on Spotify! spotify:album:2yKWIMQBbbi33VZETsm9t8

Leave a comment

Del Maguey
Old Soul Radio Show
Hillgrass Bluebilly
Best Of Lists