More than fifty years after Hank Williams died of a morphine overdose, the last lyrics he ever wrote are finally being set to music – by an all-star team including Bob Dylan, Jack White, Lucinda Williams and Alan Jackson. Dylan is spearheading the project, which began several years ago when the country legend’s publisher, Acuff-Rose, approached Dylan with a briefcase containing thirty-five unrecorded songs. “It evolved into Bob overseeing the whole thing and engaging the artists and arranging to have them do the tunes,” says a source close to the project. “As word leaked to the artistic community, they’ve been getting lots of calls.” Dylan’s contribution, “The Love That Faded,” was recorded during the Modern Times sessions in early 2006. White cut “You Know That I Know” with a band including Dylan’s pedal-steel guitarist, Donnie Herron, in Nashville last December. “Jack arranged it as an uptempo, rocking country tune,” says Dominic Suchyta, who plays bass on the track. Among the cache of lost songs is the haunting “How Do You Still a Beating Heart,” said to be the final lyric Williams wrote. Artists are still signing on to the project, which will be released in the “next year or two” on Egyptian Records, Dylan’s Columbia subsidiary.
This story is from the December 13th, 2007 issue of Rolling Stone.