Go get lost on the Hank Williams highway of life

By by dianna wray/dwray@vicad.com
July 20, 2011 at 2:20 a.m.

No one stomps your heart like the one you love. Hank Williams didn't actually say that, but he should of.

If you've ever been through a bad break-up - the real thing, the kind where somebody swings back and really punches a hole right through your heart - then you know the aforesaid statement is true.

If you've ever had said hole punched out, you've also listened to Hank Williams.

It was a wise person - well, OK, it was a character on the television show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" - who first pointed out to me the usefulness of country music. After getting summarily rejected, the character lay prostrate on his bed listening to country music, "the music of pain, the music of suffering."

The scene ended there, but you know Hank Williams, with his mournful twangy voice, must have been his go-to guy.

Williams lived a rough and wild life, touring the country, singing songs about cheatin' hearts and being so lonesome he could cry. While some singers have never set a toe down the emotional roads he evokes in their songs, the truthiness of Williams' performances still comes through in his work. He went through his ups and downs and had his heart busted up good before dying in the backseat of a car at the age of 29.

His story may not be the sunniest, but you can't help but look at his work with new eyes after hearing his story. Now, you've got the chance to do just that in the Stages Repertory Theatre production of "Hank Williams: Lost Highway." The acclaimed play lets you take a gander at the famed musician's life as he lived it and died of it, listening to some good music along the way.

Go see it. You won't regret it, and then, should another hole get punched, you'll listen to Williams for sure and knowing that he gets your heartache, because, before his tragic death, he was there, too.



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