Wednesday 30 Jul

Sobering sounds

Copperheads with Depth & Current, Dudes of America and Oblivious

10 p.m. Saturday


113 N. Crawford Ave., Norman



07/30/2014 | Comments 0

Pony expression

Wild Ponies

8 p.m. Sunday

The Blue Door

2805 N. McKinley Ave.



07/30/2014 | Comments 0

Music Made Me: Josh Hogsett

Few, if any, Oklahoma bands have seen a rise as meteoric as Tallows over the past year, yet its seemingly overnight ascension didn’t happen by chance. The Oklahoma City four-piece is well-versed in the ways of modern pop songwriting, drawing from both glitchy electronica and cathartic indie rock in equal measure. Last year, the band pulled off a rare musical feat with its debut album, Memory Marrow, which was steeped heavily in the breadth of recent history yet managed to sound like nothing else before it.
07/30/2014 | Comments 0

Planting the seed

Chelsey Cope’s new band, Elms, is as earthy and native to Oklahoma as the trees that are their namesake. The soulful folk four-piece’s debut EP, Parallel Lines, was recorded at Bell Labs Recording Studio in Norman and is on its way in September. But the band has already given us a tease, with its first single, “Burn,” going live on SoundCloud on July 14.
07/22/2014 | Comments 0

Commercial rock

Center of the Universe Festival featuring Capital Cities, Young The Giant, AWOLNATION & more
Downtown Tulsa 

07/22/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Reviews · Country · Various Artists — The Lost...

Various Artists — The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams

Thank goodness these songs ‘Saw the Light’ of day.

Matt Carney October 13th, 2011

As if the man born Hiram King Williams’ influence on country music (and all subsequently affected genres, particularly rock ’n’ roll) wasn’t already completely obvious and seminal, the long-dead crooner had to go and scribble a bunch more terrific songs about heartbreak and loneliness into his diary, just to remind us of his ownership of the subject matter even generations after he died.


Now unearthed, some genius (not sarcasm) at Columbia thought it’d be a great idea to recruit a handful of singers indebted to Williams for the purpose of recording an album that simultaneously acts as tribute and debut.

None of these songs were ever recorded, according to Columbia. Who finished writing them, we don’t know, but this collection, "The Lost Notebooks," is really stellar. You’ve got a good range of singers who regularly work in a bunch of traditional veins interesting material to work with, and a wild card with Jack White’s face on it. How can you go wrong?

Alan Jackson’s register is most similar to Williams’, so it makes sense that his entry, “You’ve Been Lonesome, Too,” kicks “The Lost Notebooks” off, even if it’s a little bit vanilla (c’mon guys, a fiddle and steel guitar?). It’s also truest, lyrically, to Williams’ expertise as a bard of sorrow, and probably tells the best story here.

It sounds like Bob Dylan may have used the same backing band as Jackson, but thankfully, his vocal gurgling on “The Love That Faded” really loosens things up. Also, his son Jakob’s contribution, “Oh, Mama, Come Home,” made me think two thoughts for the first time:

1. I really wish he would do more songs Jack Johnson-style.

2. This is way better than what his dad did.

Levon Helm’s entry goes down smooth and sorrowful, thanks to his signature register and a squad of female backup singers. And Merle Haggard gives his obligatory appearance as the hillbilly preacher man: “He brought strength of Gaawwwwd and morals, to mortals who were weak.”

Lucinda Williams’ take on “I’m So Happy I Found You” is so very ironic to the title that you can’t help but imagine Hank’s smiling up in cowboy heaven. It also proves the universality of Williams’ songs, that they seem just as natural from the female perspective as the male. Also, I think Norah Jones’ dainty, twangy “How Many Times Have You Broken My Heart?” warrants a whole Norah Jones country album. Watch a live version below.

While I’m very much biased toward the genius behind the White Stripes, I think Mr. White’s contribution is the best one here. For starters, he’s working a lot harder to do old Hank proud than any of the male singers on the record. Just listen 20 seconds into “You Know That I Know” and you hear him drawing out those vowels like daggers, like he’s swaying back and forth, about to tumble off the old wooden stool he’s perched on. Also, that quavering honky-tonk guitar of his is just terrific. I wonder if White picked this song specifically for the line “the last time I saw you, your pretty hair was red / But today, I see you’ve got black hair on your head.” It so perfectly fits his art-rock color scheme construction. Shuffle it somewhere into “Get Behind Me Satan,” and most listeners wouldn’t be the wiser.

One small complaint: There’s a bunch of time in between songs here. Throughout listening to this compilation, I’d worried that the CD had unexpectedly stopped spinning.

Last thing: “Our love was like a sacred scroll you ne’er did learn to read / I gave to you my heart and soul, and you left it there to bleed,” is an absolutely fantastic simile (it’s on Vince Gill and Rodney Crowell’s terrific, depressing “I Hope You Shed a Million Tears”), one that ranks up at the top of Williams’ best writing, alongside “then Jesus came like a stranger in the night / Praise the Lord, I saw the light.” It’s timeless poetry.

Thank that good Lord we got this previously unknown collection of Williams’ songs. They really do add a lot to his already impressive catalogue. 
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