Seeing a Ghost


When I was doing the research for my Nashville vs. Austin vs. Bakersfield blog, I came across this description:

“If some mad scientist and his assistants had conspired to take the components and stitch together an archetypal country singer, they would have come up with Hank Williams: the twig-thin, bone-and-gristle fame dressed in a faux-cowboy outfit, the starved, country-boy face, with its beady eyes and thin-lipped slash of a mouth, a face that even at 25 was already ravaged and tragic.”

Is there any question you could take this description and apply it to our Shelton Hank III?

When Minnie Pearl first saw Hank Williams III she said, “Lord honey, you’re a ghost.”

Now I’m not trying to be the master of the obvious by pointing out that Hank Sr. and Hank III look similar. This goes without saying. The three points I want to point out are:

1. The appearance of Hank Williams (and Hank III) is the ‘archetypal country singer’ as the quote says, because HANK WILLIAMS DEFINED WHAT A COUNTRY SINGER IS! HANK WILLIAMS was the first country singer to be a superstar and attain cross-genre popularity, allowing every country music singer proceeding him to be judged against the Williams look, sound, and songbook.

2. Hank Williams was one of the most prolific songwriters in country music history, and he died at the age of 29. Hank III is a self-defined workaholic. One can only imagine the volume and vitality the Hank III songbook could boast if we was not shackled by an uptight and money-driven music label.

3. And not to discount all you punks and metal heads, just Like Hank Sr. appealed to blues players and blacks and eventually to rock ‘n rollers, Hank III appeals to other genres as well, allowing people to feel like its OK to like country music, because it is more than just the bullshit pop country that Clear Channel tries to shove down our throat.

And having said all this stuff one of the most admirable things about III is that he has NOT tried to build a career solely of his dad’s or grandad’s name.

I feel like this is one of those blogs where i set off to make a point and don’t really get to it.

But i guess all I am trying to say is that when you look at III, it’s hard not to wonder if this is not the dude that was sent down from somewhere (hell or heaven, not sure which one) to restore the balance; to put country music back on the path that it was on in Hank Sr.’s time; the path on which it is supposed to be.

And then I get a chill running down my spine.


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