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Hank Williams Jr.'s Children Are Carrying On His Family's Country Music Legacy

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Hank Williams Jr., the son of music legend Hank Williams, is country royalty. While he struggled to find his musical identity at first, he went on to create his own unique sound and forever make his mark on country music. 

It should come as no surprise that Hank Jr. has multiple children that have also pursued careers in music. Here's a deep dive into his five children -- Holly, Hank 3, Hilary, Sam and Katie.

Holly Williams

Holly Williams
Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP

Holly Audrey Williams, named after her grandma, Audrey Mae, is the daughter of Hank Williams Jr. and his wife of 10 years, Becky White. When she was 17, she decided to follow the family tradition. She began playing one of her dad's guitars and perfected her songwriting skills. Growing up in Nashville is the perfect setting to get into the country music world, which Holly definitely took advantage of. She started booking gigs around town and eventually got her own record deal with Universal South Records.

In 2004, her debut album, The Ones We Never Knew, was released. The singer-songwriter was also able to tour with some massive stars, including Billy Bob Thornton, Jewel and Keith Urban. Sadly, Holly took a break from making music after getting into a bad car accident with her sister Hilary in 2006. 

But in 2009, Holly was ready to come back. She had a new label, Mercury Records, and released her second album, Here with Me. She toured all over the US and Europe, proving that she was successfully following in her father and grandfather's footsteps. She also contributed to the 2011 album released in Hank Williams Sr.'s memory, The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams, which also included the likes of Merle Haggard and Norah Jones.

Her third album, The Highway, is the most recent studio album Holly has released. The album holds up years after its 2013 release. Not only does the album feature some major names like Dierks Bentley, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jackson Browne, but it reached number one on the Billboard Heatseekers charts. 

Her husband Chris Coleman, co-wrote a few of the songs on the album --  "Happy," "Let You Go," and "'Til It Runs Dry." The couple has been married since 2009 and is settled in Nashville with their three children. Outside of music, Holly also owns her own boutique, H. Audrey, in her Tennessee hometown. 

Hank Williams III

Holly Williams
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Also known as Hank 3, Hank Williams III is the oldest Williams child, and the only kid to come from Hank Jr.'s marriage to first wife, Gwen Yeargain. Hank 3 has dabbled in multiple genres of music all over the spectrum. He started out playing guitar in punk rock bands before getting a record deal in Nashville, but never gave up loving the punk sound. He released an album with his father and grandfather (well they used his vocals at least), Three Hanks: Men with Broken Hearts, which combines the vocals of all three Hank Williams men. Pretty cool country music debut. 

His first solo album, Risin' Outlaw, was released in 1999, but Hank 3 would prefer to pretend that his follow up album,  Lovesick, Broke and Driftin' actually came first. Since 1999, he's also been a member of the punk-metal band, Assjack, who released one self-titled album in 2009.

Throughout his career, Hank 3 has released 11 studio albums, 5 of which are under his personal label, Hank3 Records.

Hilary Williams

Holly Williams
Wade Payne/Invision/AP

Hilary is the older sister of Holly, and only other sibling to come from Hank Jr.'s marriage to second wife, Becky. Like her younger sister, she followed in the footsteps of their country legend grandfather and pursued a career in country music. In 2006, Hilary and Holly were in a serious car accident. Hilary nearly lost her life, but it was that experience that she used to write her first album 12 years later.

"I died twice, and came back to life. I had 30 surgeries. It took me awhile in recovery to make music," she told PopCulture. "It was hard," she continued, "but it was therapeutic also, to move through the emotions. Now I'm in a great place in my life."

Multiple tracks on the album take you through her near-death experience, "Angel Take My Hand," as well as "Sign of Life," giving listeners an emotional glimpse into what Hilary endured during and after the accident. 

Samuel Williams

Sam Williams was one of two children to come from Hank Jr.'s marriage to third wife, Mary Jane Thomas. He spent a couple of years attending Belmont University in Music City before leaving to focus on his career. He released his first single, "Darkwater" in 2016, followed by "The Lost Grandchild's Plea," which honors his grandparents he never got to meet, Hank and Audrey Williams. His latest single, "Gemini," was released in 2019 and featured an indie country sound.

Sam told Cowboys & Indians that he's gotten some invaluable career guidance from his father.

"He tried to be his dad and make his dad's music and just sing his songs for a long time. And he did good at it, but there came a time and place where he had to do what he was put here to do, and that was change the entire genre of country music. That was to take country music from Nashville and take it worldwide. He's an icon internationally and that's something I've learned from him, just to be myself because that's what you're supposed to do."

Katherine Diane Williams

Katie, the youngest granddaughter of Hank Williams and daughter of Hank Jr. and Mary Jane Thomas, tragically passed away in a car accident in June of 2020. 

Unlike her siblings, Katherine did not pursue a career in music. Katherine led a quiet life with her husband, Tyler, and their children and ran the clothing company Weston Jane, which celebrates "[women] of purpose spreading peace and kindness."

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Hank Williams Jr.'s Children Are Carrying On His Family's Country Music Legacy