You'd be hard-pressed to find a traditional country singer who hasn't been influenced by Hank Williams, but few modern traditionalists have taken the lyrics and legacy of Williams' to heart as deeply as Leslie Tom. Tom has been a disciple of Williams since she was a child. She says the singer has shaped nearly every aspect of her career.
"I honestly do not remember a time I was not aware of Hank Williams," Tom tells Wide Open Country. "I was introduced to music through my father on our 90-minute drives from my mom's house to his house every other Friday evening. During those drives, the only music he played was traditional country. Hank Williams was one of the first, if not the first, artists I heard as a child. His impact on my music goes back to his influence from my birth."
Ain't It Something, Hank Williams
That influence is at the heart of Tom's forthcoming LP Ain't It Something, Hank Williams. The album is a 10-song collection of Williams' classics and original songs that map out Tom's own journey.
Today, Wide Open Country is proud to premiere Tom's spin on "Hey Good Lookin'," which Williams wrote and recorded in 1951. The song has been covered by dozens of artists over the years, but Tom's Texas swing take on the track makes the classic sound as fresh as ever.
Some of Nashville's finest session players back Tom on the track, including legendary pedal steel guitarist Lloyd Green. Green, a founding member of the Nashville Cats whose performed with, has appeared on over 100 No. 1 country songs.
Tom says she was initially nervous to record with the industry legends, but the musicians' excitement for the project put her at ease.
"My relationship with Nashville at that time was still not in a positive place so the last thing I wanted was to walk into a studio and be judged by a bunch of musicians that play and have played with the stars. My experience with all of them, but most specifically Lloyd, was quite the opposite," Tom says. "There was excitement about the record because I write and play the music that they 'grew up' playing and loving."
"Over the past two years, my relationship with Lloyd has grown into a very close friendship and I can tell you I love that man with all of my heart," Tom continues. "During our session working on this album, he gave me a steel lesson on his guitar. That was about as nerve-racking as anything I've done in my life. But in true Lloyd Green form, he was a true gentleman. It's an honor to have him play with me and I'll be forever thankful."
Ain't It Something, Hank Williams is out March 23 on Coastal Bend Music.
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