Growing up in Alabama I’ve learned a lot about Hank Williams in my lifetime. Hank was born on September 17, 1923 in the small town of Mount Olive, Alabama. Hank’s family had little money when he was growing up. His family moved around many small towns throughout southern Alabama when he was a boy due to his father working for a lumber company. Hank was born with Spina Bifida Occulta, which led to many drinking and drug problems later in life and his death at the age of 29.
Enough with the boring stuff. Junior year of high school I took a class which was titled Southern Culture. We learned anything and everything there is to learn about the south, some which include: food, animals, plants, but most importantly music. It was taught by a guy named Phil Proctor, whose a teacher at our high school, but he’s also a musician. His band (The Deluxe Trio) plays anything that you can think of that involves country and or blues. You can find his website here www.PhilProctor.net. Halfway through the semester Mr. Proctor took our class on a field trip to see one of Hank Williams childhood homes in Georgiana, Alabama. I know many of ya’ll are probably thinking, “Wow, this is what kids from Alabama do in school.” But no, it was actually really interesting.
Hanks original house in Georgiana burned down while him and his family lived there, but they moved down the road to 127 Rose Street. Georgiana, Alabama is about an hour and a half from my home in Mobile. His home is now turned into a museum, and you can see many valuables in the home that influenced Hank to become who he was. We got to stand on the porch where Hank learned how to play guitar from a street singer named “Teetot”. Being a foolish high schooler I obviously did not take any pictures at the time, and now regret that. Luckily I was able to find some off of the internet…
Hank’s family eventually moved out of this house in 1937 and relocated to Montgomery, Alabama. Even though Hank lived in multiple houses growing up, this home in Georgiana is specifically known to be where his musical success started to take off. Hank Williams died of a heart attack on January 1st, 1953 in the back of a Cadillac. When they found him, he was accompanied with empty beer cans and half written lyrics. I never really realized the influence Hank Williams had on country music before I took this class. His impact on country music has grown since his early death at the age of 29. Artists such as Bob Dylan, Norah Jones, and Dinah Washington have all done covers of his work. His son, Hank Williams Jr., has also done covers of his fathers songs, and also has made a name for himself in the country music industry. In 1961 he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of fame, and in 1985 inducted into the Alabama music hall of fame. I hope this blog has helped you learn a little more about Alabama Native Hank Williams, let me know what ya’ll think!
“Hank Williams.” Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2014. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.