Word has reached us (I always wanted to write something with that phrase, “Word has reached us…) that Bob Dylan has recorded an album of never-before-heard songs by one his first musical heroes, the one, the only, the late great Hank Williams.
More specifically, according to Jack White of the White Stripes, Dylan learned about the existence of 20 to 25 sets of unfinished Williams lyrics that have never been set to music. White reported that Dylan then approached other musicians, including White, Lucinda Williams and Alan Jackson about setting the lyrics to music and then recording them for an album — which White says was recorded in Nashville, describing it as a “cool” record and saying it might be released later this year.
On “Modern Times” there’s the song “Nettie Moore” in which Dylan sings about being “in a cowboy band.”If you’ve seem him perform in recent years you know that Dylan’s personal wardrobe tends toward the Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers school of haute couture. And Hank Williams was one young Bob’s early heroes — until Hank was supplanted by Buddy Holly and Little Richard and Woody Guthrie and Charlie Patton…but country music has been a constant throughout Dylan’s career — “Nashville Skyline,” of course, and “The Basement Tapes, ” for sure, but really through most of his music through the decades — and so his homage to the sad ghost of Hank Williams makes perfect sense.
Here’s an old video of Dylan and Johnny Cash singing Hank’s song “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” —