Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012
Don’t mistake Lovesick Blues: A Tribute to Hank Williams Sr. — the Liberty Theater’s upcoming and seventh annual tribute — for just another gathering of local musicians eager to perform their favorite Hank Williams songs. It’s actually a musical of sorts narrating the events of Williams’ short but storied life with local singer-songwriter Hugh Harris donning the felt cowboy hat and stepping into the boots of the iconic country star.
Lovesick Blues tells the story of the singer’s life in retrospect from the night he died, tastefully peppered with the unforgettable songs of his career. The various scenes of the play are anchored with Williams in the back seat of his 1952 Cadillac, which is where he was found dead while en route to a performance scheduled for New Year’s Day 1953 in Canton, Ohio.
Other major characters in his life have speaking parts off stage, giving the illusion that he’s remembering the important events in his life. The first is when Williams remembers meeting Rufus “Tee Tot” Payne, the man who taught him how to play guitar, and then to meeting his wife Audrey Sheppard, his career skyrocketing as he became a regular on the Louisiana Hayride radio show and his debut and tenure at the Grand Ole Opry.
The performance is filled with more than 20 of Williams’ memorable songs, including “Your Cheating Heart,” “Hey Good Looking,” “I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You,” and, of course, “Lovesick Blues.” Joining Harris’ Hank on stage will be a facsimile of the singer’s famed band, The Drifting Cowboys, composed of Gina Forsyth on fiddle, Terry Huval on steel guitar, Kenneth David on bass, Kyle Harris on lead guitar and Bobby Dumatrait playing rhythm guitar, with Cajun folklorist Barry Ancelet on hand as a script consultant. The show is directed by Jody Powell.
Though Hugh Harris mulled over the concept for the production for years, it didn’t come to fruition until Ancelet suggested in 2005 that something special be done to commemorate Williams on New Year’s Day, the anniversary of the singer’s passing.
“We all got our heads around doing this one-man performance and came up with a script and integrated it with the music,” says Harris. “A lot of singers come in and they all do tributes to Hank Williams, so we decided we wanted to take it to the next level and do an actual, theatrical-style performance instead of just a musical performance.”
Another aspect of the singer’s life that the play doesn’t ignore is his drinking. According to Harris, this topic splits Hank Williams followers into two schools of thought. He refers to the first group as “St. Hank,” those who say Williams only drank on special occasions like New Year’s. And then there are those he says believe the singer never drew a sober breath since he was 13 years old, a group he refers to as “Hank the Derelict.”
“A lot of singers come in and they all do tributes to Hank Williams, so we decided we wanted to take it to the next level and do an actual, theatrical-style performance instead of just a musical performance.”
|— Hugh Harris|
“The truth is that he was somewhere in between,” says Harris. “The actual facts of history do not support either one of those. What we have attempted to do is, yes, there is a drinking scene so you know what happens. We do not ignore it. It was part of what made him up, but it was not what defined him.”
Lovesick Blues is steeped in Williams’ legacy, and much of its content was influenced by the group’s opportunity to have played with the last living member of Williams’ band the Drifting Cowboys, the late Don Helms, at numerous Hank Williams tribute concerts. The play also celebrates the strong connection and rich history Louisiana shares with Hank Williams.
“There’s a lot of people who come to our shows that actually saw Hank Williams play in person. They enjoy the opportunity to relive those experiences through this play,” says Huval. “Hugh Harris has studied the Hank Williams persona quite well and does a really great job in carrying the trial, the tribulations, the victories and the struggles that Hank Williams had to give the audience a better flavor as to what his life was really like.”
Lovesick Blues: A Tribute to Hank Williams Sr. begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Liberty Theater in Eunice. So far, only one performance is scheduled. Tickets are $13 with all reserved seating. To order tickets, call the Eunice mayor’s office at (337) 457-7389.
It’s been just over four months since attorney Barry Domingue committed suicide the morning before he was to stand trial for a second day in the federal Curious Goods case, leaving his fellow attorney/co-defendant Daniel Stanford with a temporary mistrial and awaiting his day in court.
Candidates for Louisiana's Nov. 4 election must officially sign up for the ballot this week.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's effort to derail Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards was halted Tuesday by a state judge who said the governor's actions were harmful to parents, teachers and students.
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram isn't letting a humbling start to his pro career lower his opinion of what he can still accomplish in the NFL.
Phoenix flooding stuns residents; Gaza truce talks collapse, NFL vets defy age label and more national and international news for Wednesday, August 20, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
A vegan and gluten-free bakery tasty enough for any skeptic
In the Pelican State, Benjamin Franklin buy you about $109 worth of stuff.
Visualize Lafayette’s next great thing from 3,000 feet.
A Baton Rouge judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday against enforcing a law that prohibits anyone 70 or older from running for justice of the peace or constable.
Gov. Bobby Jindal believes the last-minute passage of a pension hike for his state police superintendent, Col. Mike Edmonson, was improperly handled, according to the governor's office.
Four bedroom colonial or three bedroom traditional home
Brittan Bush joins Liskow & Lewis, Blake David installed as the Third District Member of the Louisiana State Bar Association’s board of governors, and Simien & Miniex announces 2014 scholarship winners.
“In some cases, we’ve found that these parts are nothing more than used junk yard parts. In others, we’ve found them to be foreign knock-off parts of questionable quality.”
The relaxed fan
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
As the courts hash out the attempts to preserve and shelve Common Core in Louisiana, a group of six state lawmakers are planning an Aug. 22 trip to Oklahoma to meet with their counterparts and strategize for the 2015 regular session.
While hopes are high for turnout this fall, a new report from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate suggests that Louisiana's midterm face-offs may amount to nothing special in terms of votes cast.
The attorney hired by the Lafayette Parish School Board for a special investigation of Superintendent Pat Cooper has submitted his final report, though it may be another week before the findings are made public.
IberiaBank and LHC Group are presenting co-sponsors of the popular luncheon.
Hub City Cycles hits the ground running through small-business center opportunity.
Leaders from the local tech community ponder the question: What's missing from Acadiana's tech ecosystem?
AT&T’s U-verse heads our way. Here’s what it means for you.
LITE’s virtual environments are changing the way local employees learn how to do their jobs.
Local tech gurus will go the distance to call Lafayette home.
A look at recent hires, promotions and other news from Acadiana's business community.
New Johnston Street eatery catapults to No. 1 spot in nearly 200-location chain.
By identifying companies that match the output of its post-secondary educational institutions, Lafayette is creating opportunities that keep highly trained graduates in the area.
Gideon’s Promise lauds G. Paul Marx’s work to improve the quality of indigent defense and helps train five new public defenders.
The Tea Party of Louisiana is calling Sen. David Vitter a “turncoat” for his newfound embrace of Common Core educational standards.