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Episode 120: Audrey & Hank Williams

Audrey and Hank Williams photographed by George Rinhart

This week we travel back in time to the 1940's & '50's where Hank Williams shook the world with a new sound dubbed 'Hillbilly Rock'.

Hank may have had an incredible voice and song-writing skills like no other, but without the strong willed women who surrounded him the world may never have known. As a child it was his momager Lillie Stone pushing him to be all he could until he met the love of his life and muse for all his future song, Audrey Mae Sheppard in 1943.

With Audrey by his side Hanks career skyrocketed. She booked the interviews, tours, created his rockabilly image, was involved in (and came up with the ideas for) all of Hanks business proposals and even joined the band onstage now and again. As Audrey once said "He was lucky with a God-given talent, and I was lucky with a few brains."

Career wise things couldn't have been better but behind the scenes things weren't as rosy. An alcoholic since he was just an early teen, Hanks addiction, and the mood swings that came from it had the couple in constant turmoil. Life certainly wasn't easy, but it did make for great songwriting material.

Research for this episode came from the book Still in Love with You: The Story of Hank and Audrey Williams by Dale Vinicur and Lycretia Williams (their daughter!).