Ghosts exist in country music lore far beyond Hank Williams’ specter appearing in songs or at the Opry. The following five artists are among the country singers who’ve allegedly had ghostly encounters. In some cases, those surprise visitors were country legends, checking in on like-minded performers from beyond the grave.
“The Ride” Co-Writer Gary Gentry’s Encounter with Hank’s Ghost
One of the best-loved songs that pays homage to Hank Williams is David Alan Coe’s country music ghost story, “The Ride.” In 2015, co-awriter Gary Gentry told the Tennessean a bonkers story about contacting Williams for ghostly inspiration:
“I lit candles in the living room, and I wanted Hank to show himself… I said, “Hank! Why were you so big? Just because you died young? Show yourself! Help me write this song.” I looked down that long hallway, and Hank was sitting there without a shirt on, on my couch, in the living room.”
Johnny Horton Haunts Tillman Franks and David Houston’s CB Radio
Things got weird when Johnny Horton’s bassist Tillman Franks, who had survived the 1960 traffic accident that killed the famous singer, hit the road later on with singer David Houston. The pair’s CB radio, which previously would not turn on, suddenly started blaring Horton’s “One Woman Man” loud and clear. Both men believed that Horton was assuring his friends that the song would someday find success. It did when George Jones‘ version cracked the top 10 in 1988.
Johnny Cash’s Ghost Got a Sneak Preview of a Loretta Lynn Album
For 2016’s Full Circle, Loretta Lynn enlisted Johnny Cash’s son John Carter as co-producer. They recorded the album at the Man in Black’s go-to studio, Cash Cabin Studio. Per an interview with Lynn by Garden and Gun, all these Cash connections might’ve summoned his presence:
“A door opened from the control room into where I was recording and in walked John. I didn’t think anything of it because I was so used to seeing him; we were such good friends. He had one of those gray uniforms on from the Civil War and all of a sudden it hit me: Lord, that was Johnny Cash.”
Bobby Mackey’s Haunted Honky Tonk
Country veteran Bobby Mackey and his patrons see strange things at his Winder, Ky. bar. Stories have spread for decades that Bobby Mackey’s Music World hosts quite a few ghosts, including the spirit of Pearl Bryan. Other backstories include suicide and betrayal, making for small-town gossip and restless spirits that literally will not die. Wisely, Mackey doesn’t shy away from embracing the creepy urban legends that continue to attract travelers and the press.
Kacey Musgraves Slept In A Room With the Ghost of Gram Parsons
Kacey Musgraves’ line from “Dime Store Cowgirl” about Gram Parson’s ghost isn’t a fictitious storytelling device. In 2015, Musgraves told Exclaim! a spooky story about staying at the location of Parson’s passing, the Joshua Tree Inn:
“In our room there was a painting that had been real high up, kind of close to the ceiling for some reason, just a lightweight canvas painting. There wasn’t a frame or anything. And I came into the room, and it was off the wall. It was sitting down. Propped up by the couch. And no one had been in my room… It’s like: okay Gram, get out of here!”