Hank Williams once said ‘If a song can’t be written in 20 minutes, it ain’t worth writing.”
And, he should know. Though he lived only 29 short years Hank Williams Sr, changed country music forever – becoming one of the most prolific songwriters of his day and perhaps throughout history. Williams had 35 of his singles wind up on Billboard’s Top Ten Country and Western bestsellers list, while an astounding eleven of those hits reached number one on the charts.
Undoubtedly the bard of country music, he’s lovingly called the Hillbilly Shakespeare and I couldn’t wait to see the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery Alabama. The museum features the largest collection of Hank Williams memorabilia in the world. Nearly 40 showcases feature Hank’s suits, instruments, family furniture, and more donated by fans, band mates, his family and other country music legends.
But, looming conspicuously in the middle of museum is his famous 1952 baby-blue Cadillac convertible.
As the story goes, during the 1950s, Hank was performing nearly 300 shows a year, and traveling as much as 1,000 miles each week – a truly exhausting schedule. Williams hired young Charles Carr to drive him to Canton, Ohio for his next show. The drive would finally give Hank time to rest, sleeping peacefully in the backseat as Charlie drove north through a surprise snowstorm. Unfortunately, at some point along the ride, Hank who had been drinking, and recently was been given a shot of morphine to help ease his chronic back pain had passed.
I guess if a music legacy can’t be told in 29 years, it ain’t worth telling.
No matter your musical preference, take some time to check out a few of his best tracks, and click here to visit the museum.