Brian Ashley Jones formed Hank You! to take a break from playing his own music and to perform his favorite Hank Williams songs. He didn’t expect his tribute quartet to Hank Williams to turn into something bigger. “I realize the band is turning into much more than just a diversion for me,” says Jones. “Hank’s songs are powerful and they move people. I love tapping into that energy.”
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Today, on what would have been Williams’ 97th birthday, Hank You! reconvene with their rendition of the legend’s 1953 hit “Your Cheatin’ Heart.”
“The poignant honesty of Hank Williams’ writing has always inspired me,” says Jones of the Williams’ music, and legacy. “I try to keep that candor alive in my own songwriting and ask myself if each line would pass the Hank test.”
To date, Hank You! comprised of Jones, Geoff Henderson on upright bass, fiddler Jonathan H. Warren, and drummer Matty Meyer, have covered many of Williams’ greats, including “Hey Good Looking,” “Lovesick Blues,” “Jambalaya,” “There’s A Tear In My Beer,” “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Mind Your Own Business,” “Cold Cold Heart,” and “Move It On Over.”
Last year, Jones visited the artist’s Montgomery, AL grave on his way back home to Nashville from Pensacola, FL, where he had performed at The Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival. “It was a chilly November day and it felt surreal to be there alone singing for the man who has inspired so many,” says Jones of visiting Williams’s resting place. Afterwards, when Jones visited The Hank Williams Museum in downtown Montgomery, he met the museum director Beth Petty, told her about his tribute band, then sang a few songs for her. This chance meeting turned into a new, annual event honoring Williams.
“I was shocked when she asked me to come back on January, 2020 and sing at the graveside for the annual memorial of Hank’s passing and to perform at the museum later that night along with Hank’s grandson Sam Williams and others,” says Jones. “It was truly an honor to be included.”