Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell leads this tribute concert honoring Hank Williams, country music's "Hillbilly Shakespeare," held on April 16, 2011, in conjunction with the Museum's 2008 – 2011 exhibit "Family Tradition: The Williams Family Legacy." Rounding out the bill are singer-songwriter Ashley Monroe, songwriter Steve Young, and Americana duo the Secret Sisters.
Williams counts among the most significant and influential singer-songwriters in country music, and in his brief life–he died of heart failure at age twenty-nine in 1953—he wrote and recorded indelible parts of the American music canon, including "Your Cheatin' Heart," "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," "Cold, Cold Heart," and "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)." He was one of the first members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, inducted in 1961.
Crowell broke through with his 1988 album "Diamonds & Dirt," which notched five #1s, and he went on to build a celebrated career as a singer, songwriter, and producer. Monroe is an accomplished solo artist and member of the Pistol Annies, alongside Miranda Lambert and Angaleena Presley. Americana and country rock pioneer Young is best known for his song "Seven Bridges Road." Sisters Laura Rogers and Lydia Rogers (the latter of whom, as of 2014, records and performs as Lydia Slagle) make up the Secret Sisters, and the duo has attracted an avid following since the release of their self-titled debut album in 2010.
Each of the four acts takes a turn on the Ford Theater stage, delivering a total of sixteen songs, including eight Williams classics. They also select and share Williams-influenced songs from their own discographies, and Crowell performs "Wedding Bells," an unfinished Williams song that Crowell and Vince Gill wrote the melody for. In addition, Crowell reads from his memoir, "Chinaberry Sidewalks," describing a childhood episode when he saw Williams perform.
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