Few will deny that during his lifetime
Hank williams had the strongest claim to the title "Greatest
Figure in Country Music." More phenomenal, that title is still
valid today, although hank died in 1953. One critic says that
"Willams' music and popularity have outlived him in a manner
unparalled in country music and perhaps in all of American popular
culture; his were the first songs firmly to bridge the gulf
between country and pop music. . . .[And he was] almost
certainly country music's greatest songwriter."
Mitch Miller ranks Hank with Stephen Foster and says "He had a way
of reaching your guts and your head at the same time. No matter
who you were a country person or a sophisticate, the language
hit home. Nobody I knew could use Englis so effectively. Every song
socks you in the gut."
This life story of America's greatest country music talent evokes
not only the man, but a feeling for his erathe late 1940s
and early '50s in the South.
From an Alabama farmtown to the Grand Ole Opry and his subsequent
plunge from the heights of glory, this privileged biography draws
on eyewitness testimony of friends and associates, laying bare more than has ever been told
of Hank Williams' personal and professional lifehis upbringing,
his marriages, his artistry, his alcoholism, his tortured soul. Through
the red-neck honky-tonks of deepest Dixie to the top of the charts with songs
like "Lovesick Blues", "Your Cheatin' Heart", I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry",
"I Saw The Light", "Jambalaya", "Cold, Cold Heart", "(I Heard That)
Lonesome Whistle", "Half As Much", "I Wish I Had A Nickel", "I
Can't Get You Off My Mind", "Take These Chains From My Heart", and more;
Jay Caress has shadowed the once, present and future King of Country Music.
Here are new insights from those who knew Hank in Montgomery, Shreveport,
and Nashville and a never-before-published detailed account of the night
Hank Williams died, events which have been shrouded in mystery
for a quarter of a century.
"Today in an industry built around stars, Hank still shines brightest."
Jay Caress has been a country music disc jockey for a Louisville
radio station, and asa professional singer has appeared in clubs and
concerts. He's even made a couple of records. A former book editor,
too, for a Midwest religious publishing house, Jay was born in New Albany,
Indiana and now lives in Rockford, Illinois.