The rush of news and comment in the media on Hank Williams’ Pulitzer Prize is starting to slow down. But I wanted to bring you at least one more comment, this time from the Martinez News Gazette in California.
This article has the clever title of ‘Melting the Pulitizer’s cold, cold heart’, and is written by Jim Caroompas.
In this paragraph, Caroompas goes right at that vocal quality that I was talking about a few posts back, the voice that could reach into the most profound depths of human experience.
Well, Hank pretty much created country music in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Before him, there were country players, but they were considered hillbillies. No one in mainstream America took the music seriously. Hank put on sparkly cowboy suits with a great big Stetson hat to frame his skinny physique, and filled the room with that broken-hearted voice of his that still sends shivers down the spine, so full of loneliness and raw despair. His singing alone could keep him in the forefront of country music history. He brought a new respect for the way you could sing a country song, almost urbanized the genre without losing its sense of hay and fried chicken. A kid in New Jersey could feel a kinship with the pain in that voice, as easily as one from Georgia.
The writer also makes a good comment about the songs and their enduring value.
The odds are pretty good that you know at least one of those songs, no matter how old you are. That is the ultimate legacy for a songwriter – the fact that the songs get handed down from one generation to the next. At some point, of course, the writer is forgotten. But the song continues.
Great work Jim.
The whole article is in the Martinez News Gazette.