Little did I imagine that when I flew to Nashville back in July of 2009 to do research for my book, Family Tradition-Three Generations of Hank Williams, that I would be returning two years later to do a book signing at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. When I visited there in 2009, I was overwhelmed by all the amazing items that the Family Tradition Exhibit had on display. Featured were personal items of Hank Sr.'s including several of his stage costumes, his Bible, and the simple leather suitcase that was in the backseat of the car with him on the night he died. There were also dozens of personal items belonging to
Audrey Williams, Hank Jr. and Hank III.
When my book was released in May 2011, I went to the BookExpo in New York City to do a book signing and several interviews. During my interview on NPR News, I was joined over the phone by Michael McCall, the curator of the Family Tradition Exhibit. During our interview, he was so impressed with my knowledge of Hank Sr., that he invited me to come to Nashville to do a book signing at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
While waiting to do my talk and signing on Friday, October 14, I was greeted my Michael, Ali Tonn and Colette Huff-Koch, who were all there to make sure my signing went smoothly. Right before the event, Michael introduced me to Patsy Bradley, daughter of the legendary producer, Owen Bradley. She stopped to say hello as did Warren Denny, who is a songwriter and close family friend of Hank III's. Warren told me that he enjoyed my book and said that I did a great job. That was a wonderful compliment and
meant a lot to me.
Among the attendees who bought books was a gentleman by the name of Ed who grew up down the street from Don Helms and his wife. Helms was the pedal steel guitar player and lifelong friend of Hank Sr.'s. Ed told me that he met Hank Sr. as a young child, who picked him up and told him that he had a boy at home about his size. Getting to shake his hand and sign a book for him was a real treat.
It was quite a challenge to write about a family that has had such an historical impact on the world of music, especially considering how many books had been written before mine. To see my book now displayed with the rest of the Family Tradition Exhibit merchandise at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will always be an honor. Thank you Michael, Ali, Colette, and all my rowdy friends from Wisconsin, Tamara Gleason, Dawnette Cook, and Brian and Sarah Bethke, who came all the way to Nashville to help me celebrate.