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Country Music Hall of Fame Honors Hank Williams

Hank Williams photo courtesy of the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum.

The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will present a special program honoring Hank Williams on April 16. Titled “I Saw the Light: Songwriters Salute Hank,” the program will feature Rodney Crowell, Ashley Monroe, The Secret Sisters and Steve Young. I Saw the Light, which is presented in conjunction with the Museum’s exhibition Family Tradition: The Williams Family Legacy, Presented by SunTrust, will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the Museum’s Ford Theater; it is included with Museum admission and is free to Museum members.

During the program, which will be hosted by Family Tradition co-curator Michael McCall, each artist will perform one or more of Hank’s classic songs, as well as some of their own compositions that were influenced or inspired by Williams. They will also discuss how Hank influenced their work.

Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell is one of country music’s most respected artists. Over the past four decades, the Texas native has sold millions of records and charted handfuls of No. 1 hits, including five consecutive chart-toppers from his landmark 1988 CD, Diamonds & Dirt (“It’s Such a Small World,” “She’s Crazy for Leavin’,” “I Couldn’t Leave You if I Tried,” “Above and Beyond” and “After All This Time”). His songs have also been recorded by numerous artists including Rosanne Cash, Tim McGraw, Bob Seger and Keith Urban. Crowell’s memoir, Chinaberry Sidewalks, was published earlier this year.

Singer-songwriter Ashley Monroe has been performing since childhood. The East Tennessee native moved to Nashville as a teen and landed a recording contract with Columbia Records, for which she recorded the Top 40 country hit “I Don’t Want To” with Ronnie Dunn. Although never released, her debut Columbia CD contained a Williams-inspired composition, “Hank’s Cadillac.” Ashley’s songs have been recorded by Jason Aldean, Guy Clark, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, among others, and she has performed on records by Jack White’s band the Raconteurs and on Wanda Jackson’s latest CD (produced by White), The Party Ain’t Over.

The Secret Sisters – siblings Laura and Lydia Rogers – were reared on a canon of classic American recordings. Born and raised in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the duo has been harmonizing since childhood. When Laura performed at an impromptu audition in Nashville in 2009, music industry executives took notice; when she mentioned her sister Lydia sang as well, the executives wanted to hear the two of them together. The duo signed with Universal Republic/Beladroit Records a few months later. Their critically acclaimed eponymous debut CD, produced by T Bone Burnett and Dave Cobb and released in October 2010, contains both original and cover songs, including the Hank Williams tunes “House of Gold” and “Why Don’t You Love Me.”

Steve Young was born in Georgia but moved around the South frequently as a child while his family searched for work. By the time he finished high school, Young had become an accomplished singer-songwriter whose songs incorporated the folk, blues, country and gospel influences that he absorbed from the region. A vital force behind the “outlaw” movement in country music, Young is known both for his own recordings, and for penning songs recorded by Waylon Jennings (“Lonesome, On’ry and Mean”) and Hank Williams Jr. (“Montgomery in the Rain”). His most well-known composition, “Seven Bridges Road,” has been recorded by Joan Baez, Rita Coolidge, The Eagles and Dolly Parton, among others.

Museum programs are made possible, in part, by grants from the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission and by an agreement between the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Additional promotional support is being provided by the Museum’s official Family Tradition media partners: Great American Country Television Network, Cumulus Broadcasting and The Tennessean.

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