Sometimes when you’re listening to Hank Williams sing, you are taken to another place. Whether one of his own songs, or a traditional hymn, or someone else’s composition, something happens.You are engulfed with an overwhelming pall of understanding that you are in the presence of an artist who is exploring human experience and emotion at a level only the most profound poets and musicians ever reach.
But you still have to ask, why is Hank Williams stature growing year by year in the 21st century?
The simple answer is this: year by year it’s becoming more and more about his works. No artist has received a worse deal from writers, biographers, and reviewers in the years following his death than Hank Williams. It was tabloid plus journalism. And because he lived and worked in what they called ‘hillbilly music’ he did not receive the serious attention as a poet and performer he should have received from the start.
I’m not saying these writers said things which were not true or never happened. But the point is balance. The works got lost. Remember Hank s repoutation through the ages will be based solely on his works. The stories and scandals will disappear in the in mists of history. And already we can the works grow as the life details recede from view. What the Pulitzer panel understood is that Hank Williams’ status as a world artist is finally established and will now continue to grow through the decades and indeed centuries to come.