MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Features

June 12, 2014

Concert by Williams tribute band pegged to local show's anniversary

Hankerin’ 4 Hank will present the music of Hank Williams & The Drifting Cowboys at 7 p.m. Friday at the Roxy Theater, 220 W. Okmulgee Ave. The show will mark the 65th anniversary of Hank Williams’ appearance in Muskogee on June 13, 1949. To commemorate this anniversary, ticket prices will be set as they were for the 1949 show — $1 per person. All proceeds from the show will go to the American Red Cross. Additional donations will also be accepted.

Brian Turpen, the editor of the Hank Williams Fan Club Newsletter, recently documented details of the Grand Ole Opry show of June 13, 1949. It took place at the City Hall Auditorium, which now houses the Muskogee Police Department.

Biographers had previously assumed that Williams had stayed in Nashville after his Grand Ole Opry debut on June 11, 1949, but recent documentation indicates that his  first performance after the historic Grand Ole Opry appearance was in Muskogee. This date can now be added to the country music legend’s itinerary.

The Muskogee Daily Phoenix reported on June 11, 1949, that stars of the Grand Ole Opry would be appearing in Muskogee on Monday, June 13. Headlining the show was Ernest Tubb, with second billing going to George Morgan, who had risen to fame with “Candy Kisses.” It appeared that Williams was added at the last moment, as he had third billing.

Performing in character, Hankerin’ 4 Hank takes you back to 1949-52, the prime years of Williams’ short career.

Jim Paul Blair portrays Hank Williams, a role that earned him “Actor of the Year” at Muskogee Little Theatre for his role in “Hank Williams: Lost Highway” in 2009.

The Drifting Cowboys consist of  Virgil Bonham on lead guitar, Cliff Parrett on the doghouse bass, Mickey Flatt on steel guitar, Dana Hazzard on fiddle, and Cory Wyatt on drums.

Rounding out the group is the announcer, Steve Cannon, allowing Hankerin’ 4 Hank to produce authentic recreations of Hank Williams’ radio shows such as “The Health & Happiness” show.

In 2010, the group released “Hankerin’ 4 Hank Live at Cain’s Ballroom,” a DVD recorded at the historic dance hall in Tulsa.

Hank Williams was born in Mount Olive, Ala., on Sept. 17, 1923. He rose to fame in 1949, becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry and recording a string of hits for MGM Records including “Hey Good Lookin’,” “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “Cold Cold Heart,” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”

Information: (918) 869-6776 or email jpblair@sbcglobal.net. Also, visit www.hankerin4hank.com.

If you go

WHAT: Hankerin’ 4 Hank, a recreation of Hank Williams & The Drifting Cowboys.

WHEN: 7 p.m. today.

WHERE: Roxy Theater, 220 W. Okmulgee Ave.

COST: $1 per person.

INFORMATION: (918) 869-6776 or jpblair@sbcglobal.net

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