(BOSTON, Mass.) - Following rave reviews of their live Hank Williams tribute concerts over the past several years, rockers Girls Guns and Glory has announced the release of a live tribute album from the shows. Girls Guns and Glory Presents: A Tribute to Hank Williams - Live! is slated to drop on February 24, 2015 via Lonesome Day Records' new imprint Dry Lighting Records.
"Hank Williams was a game changer," says Girls Guns and Glory vocalist/guitarist Ward Hayden. "I've read a few Hank biographies and something that often gets mentioned that I feel a connection with is that before Hank Williams there weren't cowboy hats in 'Hillbilly Folk,' which became country music. That's a western thing. Hank's from Alabama and there aren't too many cowboys in Alabama. He got the image of the American Cowboy from watching guys like Gene Autry on TV and he incorporated it into his style and after his success it became commonplace for that western style to show up in country music."
While Hayden grew up in a household that listened to classic country music, such as Merle Haggard, Charlie Pride, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and, of course, Hank Williams, he admits it wasn't his "bag" at first. "Around when I turned 20 and the lyrics stated making a whole lot of sense is when it hit me. If you've never had your heart broken then country music can sound like a bunch of twangy gibberish," he says.
The 12-track Girls Guns and Glory Presents: A Tribute to Hank Williams - Live! was recorded on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day 2014 at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, MA. "We chose these two days because in the legacy of Hank Williams these are the dates of the two final shows he never got to play," explains Hayden. "On New Year's Eve back in 1952 Hank Williams was slated to perform in Charleston, WV. He wound up staying the night in Knoxville, TN and never arriving at that show due to foul weather. New Year's Eve 1953, is a key date in Hank's legacy because en route to his show in Canton, OH his driver pulled off at a gas station to find Hank unresponsive in the backseat of his Cadillac. Jan 1, 1953 for all intents and purposes, is the day the world bid farewell to its greatest country songwriter."
The band chose to perform and record these shows specifically to honor the legend and his music and to celebrate his life and legacy. "He was a wild man and he felt both physical and emotional pain in a very intense and deep way," continues Hayden. "His songs are a testament to that. Hank's music has had a huge impact on the way I view music and songwriting and the emotional honesty that can get put into a three minute long song. He was a master of boiling down a moment and an emotion, and in my own songwriting I have constantly used his work as an example of how you don't need to necessarily get wordy and say a lot, all the while still saying so much on a much deeper level. This tribute has been a dream come true and the icing on the cake is that we had such a good time performing his songs and bringing up friends to guest with us and share in the experience."
Girls Guns and Glory once again performed another string of Hank Williams tribute concerts this past December and earlier this month in the middle of their U.S. tour. The tribute shows were held in New England from Dec. 27-Jan. 3. This season marks the band's fifth year of performing the Hank Williams Tribute show.
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Girls Guns & Glory presents: A Tribute to Hank Williams - Live! Track Listing: