NASHVILLE (press release)—”The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams” project began with the idea of finding a well-known artist, one who felt Hank’s inspiration and influence, to record an album’s worth of the unheard songs. After veteran music industry manager/A&R executive Mary Martin approached Bob Dylan, a natural first choice for the endeavor, the project evolved into a multi-artist tribute providing a variety of sympathetic approaches to this rich mysterious material. Other artists appearing on the album include Jack White, Norah Jones, Lucinda Williams, Alan Jackson and many more.
When Hank Williams died, at the age of 29, in the back of his Cadillac sometime early morning on New Year’s Day 1953, he left behind a scuffed, embroidered brown leather briefcase, which he used to carry bound notebooks, among other items, darkening their pages with lyrics and song ideas. Some were fully finished, some just started.
The odyssey of Hank Williams’ notebooks is recounted in the album’s liner notes, penned by Michael McCall from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, who observes, “The history of Hank’s notebooks is as complex as the legend himself. Yet, in the end, what matters most are the songs and these new works rise from the ether with ghostly relevance. As with his many standards, these new recordings tap straight into the soul of man. This is songwriting at its most artful and most powerful.”