Hank Williams III Drops Surprise Cover – 1st Song in 8 Years

photo: Bill Ebbesen

It’s been about eight years since we’ve heard any new recorded material from Hank Williams III, seven years since he toured last, and about that long since we’ve heard much of anything from the third generation performer aside from collaborating with DevilDriver on an Outlaw country tribute in 2018.

But late Monday evening (5-24), Hank3 surprised everyone by dropping a surprise cover of “You Never Even Called Me By My Name,” a.k.a. the “perfect country and Western song” made popular by David Allan Coe, and written by Steve Goodman and John Prine.

Releasing it solely on YouTube (see below), and addressing it simply as an “Outlaw Classic Country Cover, Played and Sang in real time no editing,” his haunting, slowed-down, and echo-rich version of the country classic clocks in at almost 7 minutes, and is being lapped up by thirsty and grateful Hank3 fans. No other explanation accompanies the release, but nobody’s complaining.

A couple of interesting notes about the song: Hank3 collaborated with David Allan Coe in 2013 on the 7-minute epic “The Outlaw Ways,” which is where the picture of the two of them together comes from.

Also, though the date has been disputed by some, May 24th is recognized as the day in 1971 when Steve Goodman and John Prine wrote “You Never Even Called Me By My Name” in a suite at New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel after performer Paul Anka let the two hungry and up-and-coming songwriters stay there, and they raided the room’s liquor cabinet.

For years nobody knew John Prine was a co-writer of the song, but he revealed it later in life. The story of how the song was written is the subject of Episode 2 of Saving Country Music’s Country History X podcast.

So whether it’s by complete chance or on purpose, Hank3’s version of “You Never Even Called Me By My Name” is being delivered on the 50th Anniversary of the song’s writing.

Here’s to Hank3’s return, David Allan Coe, Steve Goodman, John Prine, and classic Outlaw country.

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