This weekend many devoted hellibillies will be showing their support for the Reinstate Hank movement at the CMA Fan Fair, including Cathy and Wayne who’ve been great supporters for Free Hank III also.
Since I live some 1,500 miles away I can’t attend, but I wanted to show my support. I could let down my fly and wizz all over the Opry, which I’ve done many times before and will likely do again. But instead of tearing down, I wanted to prop up an institution of country music that propped up Hank Williams Sr.
In this video of Hank III’s ‘Grand Ole Opry’ (the first cut on his still unreleased album), he mentions the ‘Louisiana Hellride’ the Opry might be headed for:
This is a reference to the Louisiana Hayride program that Hank Williams Sr. got his start on. In fact, when Hank Williams was kicked out of the Opry, the Louisiana Hayride took him back with open arms, even though Hank Sr. had left the program for the Opry at the highlight of his career.
If you want to read a history of the Louisiana Hayride it can be found on their website, but their contribution to the country AND rock ‘n’ roll scene is tremendous, and in my opinion, they played an even more significant role than the Opry. The problem was they were based in Shreveport, and all the power in country music was based in Nashville.
Whereas The Grand Ole Opry only took on artists that had already made a name for themselves, the Louisiana Hayride was out there finding new talent.
The list of talent that got their start on the Hayride is sick: Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Faron Young, Lefty Frizzell, Doug Kershaw, Kitty Wells, and on and on.
They called the Louisiana Hayride ‘The Cradle of the Stars’ for good reason.
So as we take on the institutions that are tearing down the traditions of country music, let’s pay tributes to the ones that honor those traditions, like the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the greatness of the Louisiana Hayride.