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.