Every New Year’s Eve for the past five years, Boston-based country-rockabilly throwbacks Girls Guns and Glory have been honoring their hero Hank Williams with a string of tribute shows around the anniversary of his death. This week, the band releases one of those concerts on the live album Girls Guns and Glory Presents: A Tribute to Hank Williams – Live!, recorded during two nights at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Over a dozen songs, the four-piece, led by singer-guitarist Ward Hayden, performs Williams classics like “Hey, Good Lookin'” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” along with lesser known tunes like “Rockin’ Chair Money,” which also appears on Girls Guns and Glory’s 2014 studio album Good Luck. Listen to the band’s live take on “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” below.
“‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ is one of Hank’s songs that initially drew me into his music. Incredibly, it wasn’t a hit during his lifetime, it first came out as the B-side to ‘My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It.’ Thirteen years after his passing it became a hit and subsequently one of his signature songs,” Hayden tells Rolling Stone Country.
“The imagery of the lyrics continues to wow me. Hank referred to sundown as the loneliest time of day and this song comes from the darkness that follows that time,” he continues. “It’s full of emotion and vivid imagery. It was Hank’s personal favorite song and, for me, it ranks up there as one of his best.”
Williams’ influence on Hayden and the band can be heard all over Good Luck, an album that helped land them on Rolling Stone Country‘s Artists You Need to Know list last fall.
“To me, Hank is the end all, be all. When we started putting a song or two of his in the Girls Guns and Glory live show, it inspired me to get more honest with my own songwriting,” says Hayden. “I feel like I owe him a debt of gratitude for providing the blueprint of how to make your flaws, your stumbles and your failures work for your songs rather than tear you apart internally.”
Currently in the studio working on the follow-up to Good Luck, Girls Guns and Glory will also tour behind the Williams tribute. The group performs at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City on February 26th.
I Saw the Light, a biopic about Williams’ life is currently in production, with actor Tom Hiddleston playing the tragic country icon.