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Hank Williams' kin finally OK museum display (Read 764 times)
TenThousandMotels
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Hank Williams' kin finally OK museum display
Apr 18th, 2008 at 2:39pm
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Hank Williams' kin finally OK museum display
John Gerome, Associated Press

Friday, April 18, 2008
SF GATE


It's no shock that the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum got a tepid response from Hank Williams Jr. on their plans for an exhibition on his family, from his iconic and troubled father through his own hell-raising days to his children's lives.

The museum wanted Williams, a private man, to open his vault of family keepsakes. Needless to say, their first meeting didn't go well.

The family had reservations about reopening old wounds and about how their stories would be represented. But they came around, and last month the museum opened "Family Tradition: The Williams Family Legacy," a multimedia exhibition that runs through December 2009.

The family wound up giving oral histories and lending about 99 percent of the display - the bulk of it an intensely personal collection of scrapbooks, snapshots, newspaper clippings, private letters and home movies.

There's a photo of Hank Sr. with his baby son, movies of a family vacation to Disneyland, song lyrics Hank Sr. wrote just before his death.

"Seventy percent of the artifacts I didn't know existed. I had never seen them before," said singer-songwriter Holly Williams, the 27-year-old daughter of Hank Williams Jr. and granddaughter of Hank Williams Sr. "The suitcase that was with Hank the night he died is an amazing find."

A lot of the items show that the Williams clan wasn't all that different from other families in the 1950s and '60s. They danced and goofed around in their living room and took pictures of their kids on Santa's lap.

But when you read the text panels and interactive screens and listen to interviews playing on the overhead monitors, a darker side emerges.

Hank Sr. battled alcohol and drug addiction while writing some of the most memorable songs in American music, including "Hey, Good Lookin'," "Cold, Cold Heart" and "Move It On Over."

He was found dead in the back seat of his Cadillac in West Virginia on New Year's Day 1953, en route to a concert in Ohio. He was 29. The official cause of death was heart failure, but there's still some mystery about the circumstances.

"If you look at how much Hank Williams did by 29 years old, it makes you feel pretty worthless," says his 35-year-old grandson, Shelton Hank Williams, a musician who goes by Hank Williams III and plays rootsy country music reminiscent of his grandfather one moment, then punk rock and thrash metal the next. "I'm thankful for being from that bloodline, but if you compare yourself all the time, you'll lose your brain."

Hank Jr. nearly did just that. Like his father, he was a rebel and slow to gain industry acceptance. He attempted suicide in 1974, and a year later broke the bones in his face in a near-fatal fall from a Montana mountain.

He recovered and went on to fuse country music with Southern rock and become one of the most popular and influential country stars of the '80s.

The display touches on other family members as well, each of whom faced their own travails.

"It's brought people together," Hank III said of the exhibition. "Back when I was a teenager this never would have happened," he added. "I know that for a fact."
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Re: Hank Williams' kin finally OK museum display
Reply #1 - Apr 26th, 2008 at 11:26pm
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Any Mention Of Jet, Hank William Sr Daughter?
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« Last Edit: Apr 27th, 2008 at 4:23pm by Kilroy »  

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Re: Hank Williams' kin finally OK museum display
Reply #2 - Apr 27th, 2008 at 9:46am
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good news
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Re: Hank Williams' kin finally OK museum display
Reply #3 - Apr 27th, 2008 at 6:34pm
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Hank III friggin' ROCKS!!!
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