Tag Archives: Alabama

OT: Hiddles as My Homeboy Hank. Tom plays ‘Hillbilly Shakespeare’


While my fangurling heart is fully dedicated to only one charismatic Brit actor–RA, of course–I did note with interest the casting of Tom Hiddleston as Hiram King “Hank” Williams, Sr. in the upcoming film, “I Saw the Light” (the title of one of Hank’s hit songs). Today they released a still of Tom in character for the biopic.


There’s a definite resemblance there, both men being tall, lanky fellows with enviable cheekbones and Puckish smiles.  But more importantly, Hiddleston seems to have captured that slightly haunted and world-weary look Hank had.


Hiddleston in character, a lone figure with his guitar. Courtesy of Bing.com

Hiddleston in character, a lone figure with his guitar. Courtesy of Bing.com

Hank was a naturally gifted musician who battled physical pain (believed to be caused by some form of spina bifida that was not discovered until his autopsy) much of his life–pain that led to his addiction to pills and alcohol. He was a country music superstar by 25 and dead by 29.

In his brief career he charted 35 times in the top ten, with 11 of Hank’s recordings hitting number one. You can’t help but wonder what he might have accomplished if he could have kept the demons of pain and addiction in check . . .



Now, I am not a huge country music fan, per se, but I am a fan of Hank’s music since way back and I feel a certain connection to him. We were both born in Butler County, Alabama, September babies who arrived in this world some 37 years apart. I know folks and their descendants who remember him and his family. I’ve heard stories passed down of Hank’s childhood days in various towns and communities in the county. Hank’s daddy, a WW I veteran, had been shell-shocked. His poor health made it difficult to find steady work, so the family frequently moved in search of new opportunities, eventually moving to Alabama’s capital, Montgomery, the place where he is buried.

Every June, the town of Georgiana, where Hank and his family lived for several years, celebrates with a two-day Hank Williams Festival. I’ve met people there from as far away as Germany, South America, Japan and Nottingham, England. Documentarians from around the world have come to this town of 2,000 to film the event.


hanks boyhood home

Hank’s boyhood home in Georgiana also serves as a museum with many photographs, sheet music, furnishings and other items on display.

When he was just starting out with his own band, young Hank used to play at various juke joints and dance halls across the county. My mama and daddy remembered dancing to his live performances way back yonder, when “Hank was just another ol’ southern boy.”

I like to imagine a pretty young dark-haired woman, her grey-blue eyes sparkling and skirt and petticoat swirling as they swing danced to tune like “Move It On Over.”


Hank meeting a young fan, Doug Sahm, at a club in Austin, Texas on Dec. 19, 1952. He would die at age 29 of a heart attack just under two weeks later.


When a film was made of his life back in the early ’60s (“Your Cheatin’ Heart”), my parents went to see it at the Ritz and they also bought the soundtrack album. I listened to it many times over the years.  Hank Williams, Jr. actually performed the songs on the soundtrack (and did an admirable job of channeling his daddy) with George Hamilton lip-syncing the performances.


There was something simple and straightforward about Hank, Sr.’s music that I like, something raw and ever so emotive in his voice. From the high-spirited “Hey, Good Looking” to the haunting “Kawliga” and the wistful “I’m So Lonesome” he had a way of touching people’s hearts and souls with his music and mirroring their own feelings of delight and despair, happiness and heartache.  Much as really good actors do through their performances.


Tom practicing a few chords for the role. Courtesy of Geektyrant.com

Tom practicing a few chords for the role. Courtesy of Geektyrant.com

And so what if Hank woke up from an alcoholic stupor to be dazzled by the lights of an airport, leading him to pen “I Saw the Light”? It’s still an inspiring, jubilant song, and I actually got to sing it one year on the same stage of the Ga-Ana Theater where Hank and his Drifting Cowboys had performed in Georgiana decades before.



Hank has been called the “Hillbilly Shakespeare.” So perhaps it is only fitting that a Shakespearean actor should also portray him on film.



Tom on the set of “I Saw the Light.” Courtesy of Pinterest.com

Can’t wait to hear Tom’s south Alabama accent.

Lyrics to a few of my favorite Hank songs~~


I’m So Lonesome (I Could Cry)thX2G8LX5T

By Hank Williams, Sr.

I’ve never seen a night so long
When time goes crawling by.
The moon just went behind the clouds
To hide its face and cry.

Did you ever see a robin weep,
When leaves begin to die
That means he’s lost the will to live,
I’m so lonesome I could cry.

The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky

And as I wonder where you are
I’m so lonesome I could cry.

Jambalaya (On The Bayou)thYG1XPVEA

By Hank Williams

Goodbye Joe me gotta go me oh my oh
Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou
My Yvonne the sweetest one me oh my oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou
Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo
Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Thibodaux Fontaineaux the place is buzzin’
Kinfolk come to see Yvonne by the dozen
Dress in style and go hog wild me oh my oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou
Settle down far from town get me a pirogue
And I’ll catch all the fish in the bayou
Jambalaya and a crawfish pie

Later on, swap my mon, get me a pirogue
And I’ll catch all the fish on the bayou
Swap my mon, to buy Yvonne what she need-oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou
Jambalaya and a crawfish pie

Hey, Good Lookin’thUPVR2VY7

By Hank Williams

Say hey, good lookin’ whatcha got cookin’?
How’s about cookin’ something up with me?
Hey, sweet baby don’t you think maybe
We can find us a brand new recipe?

I got a hot rod ford and a two dollar bill
And I know a spot right over the hill
There’s soda pop and the dancin’s free
So if you want to have fun come along with me.

Hey, good lookin’ whatcha got cookin’?
How’s about cookin’ something up with me?

I’m free and ready so we can go steady
How’s about saving all your time for me
No more lookin’ I know I been cookin’
How’s about keepin’ steady company?

I’m gonna throw my date book over the fence
And find me one for five or ten cents
I’ll keep it ’til it’s covered with age
‘Cause I’m writin’ your name down on ev’ry page.

Say hey, good lookin’ whatcha got cookin’?
How’s about cookin’ something up with me?

maxresdefaultI am counting on you to do just that, Mr. Hiddleston. I’d expect no less.

Monday musings: Mother Nature, beautiful and terrible


There’s a chill in the air here and a jacket and shoes do not go amiss when you venture outside. You step out onto the balcony and drink in the morning beauty, always amazed at the ever-changing seascape before youA couple walks slowly down the beach, pausing to watch a bird skipping across the water’s surface as it does a bit of fishing for its breakfast.

The view from the balcony in Orange Beach between 7:30 and 8 a.m. Monday. As Benny said, you get this great ombre effect between the sky and the sea.

Even as I enjoy all the splendid beauty of Mother Nature on this Monday morning, I am reminded that many people are facing a difficult day that may bring more than inconvenience and frustration. This storm could wreak significant havoc on life and property. Remember you are in our thoughts and prayers. I hope these images will lift your spirits, along with the knowledge that people who may live far away from you still care.

I made this video last year after a series of deadly tornadoes took a devastating toll on Alabama and other states in what was called “April’s Fury.”  I share it again now as a reminder we all need to encourage and support one another in times like this.  No man (or woman) is an island . . .

OT: Hot brekkie and cool blue of the autumn sky & sea


After a delicious southern-style breakfast just like Mama used to make (grits, eggs, thick-cut bacon, flaky biscuits and a variety of jellies and jams), Benny and I take a walk on the beach. Via a wooden bridge, we cross the natural habitat area that protect the dunes and sea oats.

(Image courtesy of southernfoodabout.com)

It is another beautiful day here, the loveliest breeze blowing in from the Gulf. The water on the horizon is a deep blue, turning to turquoise and then aqua as it approaches the shore. The sky is pale blue where it kisses the water, transforming into the clear cerulean blue canopy above us.

The sand here is sugar-white, sparkling like crystals where the sun hits it in certain spots. A couple of fishermen in hip waders are angling in the salt water this morning; at a distance, we can seeing a few fishing boats. We take off our sandals and sink our toes in the sand.  Flashes of orange and yellow are glimpsed as butterflies make their way to Mexico.

“The water’s not too cold,” Benny remarks as the surf rolls in and we get our feet wet. Not sure I would want to take a full dip into it, however.

It’s a wonderful time of the year to come to the beach in Alabama, chilly water or not. There’s the beauty of the sky and sea, the refreshing breeze and pleasant temperature, the lack of crowds and noise . . .

The sea oats and dunes that are protected as part of a natural habitat area.

I love those blue umbrellas against the glistening white of the sand.

Some families out enjoying the beach in the beautiful fall weather.

These flock of seagulls (now why am I hearing 80s music playing in my head?) stayed clustered in this particular spot the entire time we were out there. My sister says it’s not unusual for them to do that. Benny said maybe they were waiting to give us a floor show. 😉

Brrrrrrrrrrrrr . . . .


I woke up and had to close the window. It’s 50 degrees F, which might not sound terribly cold, but factor in high humidity and winds up to 35 mph of the northerly variety, and it’s a right chilly April morning in south Alabama. Callie is cuddled up with me  and it’s of mutual benefit.

Of course, I suspect that this tall, rangy fellow could put out a lot of heat. From the stage play early in Mr. A’s career, “Use Me as Your Cardigan.” Notice how he had already perfected that smouldering technique quite well.

Happy for us; sorrowful for those not so fortunate


It’s calm here this morning. The temperature has dropped 15 degrees since the early morning hours when I couldn’t sleep. There is some sunshine peeking through the clouds. We still have a 50-50 chance of rain, but the thunderstorms that can spawn the dreaded funnel clouds are no longer expected.  Our homes, businesses and lives remain intact. We are thankful that once again here in south Alabama we dodged a bullet.

Everyone was not so fortunate. Tornadoes in northern Alabama that moved into Kentucky and Indiana destroyed and damaged homes, a school, a prison, businesses. Worst of all, at least 30 lives–that which you cannot replace- -have been lost.  As the rubble is sifted through, very likely that death toll will rise.  Some of those who suffered more damages had just recovered from last April’s killer tornadoes. It is heartbreaking; Our thoughts and prayers to all those victimized by this latest killer storm system.

I read a online article written by a reporter in north Alabama about the aftermath. The bright spot in it were these words: “I saw neighbors helping neighbors.” This doesn’t surprise me. Still, it is so encouraging to know the good people of this state embrace a sense of community.

I know that in Australia, where several of our regular readers and commenters live, there has been flooding with more rain expected. I hope that all of you and your friends and loved ones will remain safe.

It’s a tough old world. But if we stick together and help one another out, it makes picking up the pieces a little bit easier.

English: Enterprise, AL, March 5, 2007 -- Work...

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A theatrical gem in my own backyard

The witches (Jennifer Hunt, Suzanne Curtis, an...

Image via Wikipedia Alabama Shakespeare Festival (Photo credit: JohnTracy)

I’ve mentioned the iconic role of Atticus Finch as one I would love to see Richard interpret.  Now here is a place where I would dearly love to see him perform. He’s spoken of wanting to do more stage work–and I can attest to the quality of the stages and the actors who trod the boards here. And it is less than an hour from my home. It is the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. But don’t just take my potentially prejudiced word for it. Here is an excerpt from Southern Living Magazine.

Lend me your ears. Broadway hath nothing on the Bard in Alabama and neither does jolly olde England. I should know. I’ve enjoyed  some of London’s and New York’s best stage shebangs and marveled at the large-scale productions where headliners float on  massive hydraulic sets amid fireworks and fancy costumes. I can honestly tell you that I’ve never had a better theater experience  than at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival (ASF).                        

Alas, I can’t deny that Montgomery, the state’s sleepy capital, seems an unlikely place for the world’s sixth largest Shakespeare festival. There’s even a running joke among visiting actors and designers seeing the Carolyn Blount Theatre for the first time. “They often make a loud exclamation,” says ASF artistic director Kent Thompson. “They never expect the splendor and elegance of this building, especially in Alabama.” It’s true. When rounding that slow curve in Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park  and taking on a full view of the sprawling 100,000-square-foot complex, it’s hard not to gasp. The redbrick structure, based on the designs of a 16th-century Italian architect, stands regal before a small lake, complete with black swans. 


Carolyn_Blount_Theatre in Montgomery, Alabama,...

Image via Wikipedia

Hours Upon the Stage If you think the approach is great, just wait until the curtain rises. July is actually the finale of ASF’s repertory season,  which means six shows continually run in either the 750-seat Festival Stage or The Octagon, a 225-seat black box theater.  Naturally, the Bard’s timeless works take the lead, but the theater is as well-known for its contemporary productions as for its classics. Plays by modern greats, such as Tom Stoppard and Neil Simon, share billing with shows by up-and-coming playwrights.                                

Of course, a play is only as good as its acting, and this season’s company is made up of players from all over the country. “We recruit the finest actors from New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, among other places,” says Kent.                                

The diverse composition of talent, the phenomenal facilities, and the high-quality plays provide a complete theater experience. I stand behind my claim that pound of flesh for pound of flesh, ASF holds its own with any theater around.  

As you can see, ASF is a pretty special place. And Montgomery would be a great place to work on a southern accent. Plus, the Blount Cultural Park with its plentiful verdant spaces is a wonderful area to go for fresh air and exercise.  The locals are friendly (we don’t call it southern hospitality for nothing) and the food is fantastic. I’m just sayin’, Richard . . .