Sam Williams Pays Tribute To Late Grandfather Hank Williams With A New Rendition Of ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’
The song was released in honor of the country music icon’s 100th birthday.
Sam Williams; Photo courtesy of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
In honor of what would have been Hank Williams’ 100th birthday on Sunday (September 17), his grandson, Sam Williams unveiled his own soulful rendition of the beloved classic, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”
The Nashville singer/songwriter and son of Hank Williams Jr. took the same storyline that been cemented in country music’s historic catalog of songs since 1949 and made it his own, proving that the country music trailblazer’s legacy is in good hands.
“This song is special to me in many ways. I have always been hesitant to touch recording my grandfather’s songs, as there’s a sacredness to them. I wouldn’t want to do them injustice,” Williams admitted while discussing the new release.
As the delicate acoustic guitar strums build into a captivating stream of sorrowful instrumentals, Williams puts forth a stunning delivery of raw vocals and undeniable passion for the song’s original craft.
“Hear that lonesome whippoorwill / He sounds too blue to fly / The midnight train is whining low / I’m so lonesome, I could cry,” Williams sings on the chorus of the slowed-down track.
Williams went on to share that “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” has always been one of his favorite Hank Williams songs and now getting the chance to record it as a tribute for his grandfather’s birthday makes it all the more special.
“The release coinciding with his centennial birthday is a bittersweet happy birthday gift to the man I never knew that everyone seems to know,” he continued. “It is a reclamation of my name, my destiny in my family’s legacy, and a statement to country music. History and homage, respect and reinvention, tattered and stolen coattails; I am a most honorable mention.”
He debuted his recording of the song on the Grand Ole Opry stage where he also welcomed his son, Tennyson to the stage and invited the audience to help him sing happy birthday to the “Lovesick Blues” singer.
The heartwarming moment was captured and shared to Williams’ Instagram alongside the caption, “Happy heavenly birthday grandpa.. Hiram King “Hank” Williams would be 100 years old today. Forever emblazoned in the history of music and in my soul. Changed the world. I feel a lonesome ache in my spirit that comes from somewhere else but also a special spark that roots from elsewhere as well.”
He continued, “HBD at the @opry with Teetot only seemed right. Getting to debut the new ISLICC was nothing short of spiritual. I’ll keep this short.. ‘I wish there was a place Hank could know Sambo understands’ in the words of your namesake great grandboy ‘Bye, love you’ 💙💙💙💙”
The celebration of the country music great continued on Thursday, Sept. 21 when the Country Music Hall of Fame hosted Hank’s 100th: A Concert in Celebration of Hank Williams. This concert featured a diverse range of vocalists from the Americana community including Suzy Bogguss, Laura Cantrell, Della Mae, Rodney Crowell, Brennen Leigh, Delbert McClinton, Charlie McCoy, Chuck Mead, Wendy Moten, Sam Williams, and more.
Sam Williams also took the stage in the museum’s CMA Theater to join the star-studded lineup of artists who performed interpretations of Williams’ classics in various styles, from honky-tonk to bluegrass to rock to R&B.
This program was presented by Spotify in partnership with the Americana Music Association.
In the days following the event, Williams took to social media to share a carousel of photos highlighting special moments from the night and also express his gratitude for all those who had a hand in putting it together.
His caption read, “thank you to the Hall & everyone involved for this special affair. It was a theater filled with history, love, and inspiration. Songs like ‘You Win Again,’ ‘I Can’t Help It If I’m Still in Love With You,’ ‘Lovesick Blues,’ ‘House of Gold,’ have lived for a very long time, they feel like they were written somewhere in my heart, and have done much more than pass the test of time.”
“Thank you for celebrating the Hilbilly Shakespeare with me 🖤” he wrote in conclusion.
Country Music Hall of Fame member Hank Williams scored more than 30 hits in his short career, including “Hey, Good Lookin’,” “Jambalaya” and “Lovesick Blues.” He’s also responsible for penning many of songs that are now considered country standards that gave gone on to be been recorded by artists in nearly every genre.
Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, the third-generation country music star released his debut LP Glasshouse Children in 2021 and is now working on his next album, which is slated to drop in 2024.
Sam Williams has yet to announce any upcoming shows.
Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.