Everybody knows a little Hank Williams even if they don't know he wrote it. I can't say I have ever purchased any of his music, but I was drawn to this for a few reasons. Firstly, I have recently enjoyed the CD by Steve Earle that carries the name of Williams' last hit, 'I'll Never get out of this World Alive'. I followed up with his book of the same name which references Williams throughout. So interest piqued.
I was aware this album had been released, on the Egyptian imprint of Sony, which is Bob Dylan's specialist label and he had previously put out 'The Songs of Jimmie Rodgers' a Tribute by Various Artists - one of my all time favourites. So I bought this with high expectations and have not been disappointed. It opens with Alan Jackson's smooth. sympathetic arrangement of 'You've been Lonesome, Too', followed by Dylan's 'The Love that Failed' in his own raspy inimitable style. These are followed by a couple of show stealers. Norah Jones' 'How Many Times Have You Broken my Heart' suits her honey'd vocals perfectly and Jack White yelps out a great contribution with 'You Know that I Know'. These songs carry pathos, sadness, humour and upbeat tunes that suggest the writer is used to knockbacks, but will come through. I love them all.
Lucinda Williams does Lucinda, then Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell put in a great turn on the part spoken, part sung and bitter 'I Hope you Shed a Million Tears. The rest are all as good without exception. The samples don't do it justice-just buy the album. It's a beautifully, lovingly assembled piece of work that does justice to a great songwriter as these artists have completed his work. May ot have been what he had in mind, but I bet he would have loved these interpretations of his lyrics.