Into these last nine beers
I have shed a million tears.
You are on my lonely mind.
I’m gonna keep on sittin here
Until I’m petrified.
And then maybe these tears
Will leave my eyes.
There's a tear in my beer
Cause I’m crying for you, dear
You are on my lonely mind
— Hank Williams Sr.
There’s no question, is there, that country music is made for the benefit of the pathetic among us?
And who hasn’t played that role a time or two?
That’s probably why I became a fan in my early 30s. When a man feels pitiful, he sometimes needs to soak in it, until his self-pity causes him to fall on the floor after the tears ruin his beer.
If he can get up, by then, he’ll usually be laughing at himself.
It means he’s healed, and can now go home.
It’s quitting music, the kind that touches the soul of every man and woman who’s ever given up on an unreasonable lover, a bad kid or a hypocritical parent.
A successful evening on the pitty pot just goes better with the sounds of Hank Williams, who you know going in, is on his way to a fatal car wreck before his 30th birthday.
I sometimes wonder how many car wrecks he’s caused, even after death, for truck drivers hauling loads across the country.
They say misery loves company, but I’m telling you, company loves misery.
You can’t find that kind of support group when you’re listening to “achievement” music.
All they do is take human bodies, and pass them back and forth, while you jump up and down, and hold your hands like you’re signaling for a touchdown.
What kind of misery is that?
It’s strictly cardio-vascular, deodorant-destroying music.
Now I’m hearing that so-called country music singer, Kenny Chesney, recently greeted his country music audience in Boston by flying high above his fans all the way to the other end of his fans, and then back again.
Kenny Chesney, he of health club muscles and mediocre, but loud music, ought to listen up.
I never thought I’d be saying this, but country ain’t country, anymore.
Can you see Don Williams flying across the stage, while singing, “Some Hearts Never Mend?”
Kenny’s music is rock — which is fine. I like most rock music. But don’t label it country. You can’t do pure pitiful, if you’re keeping time to Chesney music. It’s like cheating.
Hear that lonesome whippoorwill
He sounds too blue to fly
The midnight train is whining low
I'm so lonesome I could cry Hank Williams Sr.
I wish I’d written that. What poetic lowliness. I’m feeling better by the minute.
I never seen a night so long
When times go crawling by
The moon just went behind a cloud
To hide it's face and cry.
Can I take credit for that verse?
OK. one more:
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 worse they feel, the better I feel, it seems.
No I’m not making fun of the music. Hank gave up a lot to write like that. Some would say he gave up his life for it.
And I would argue that his beautiful songs of loneliness made the rest of us feel like life couldn’t get any better.
Whatever the sorrow, he made it real. And real can be hard to find — especially with too much steel guitar and celebrities flying “above” an audience, instead of pressing the flesh with them down on the floor.
I’m sorry Hank had such a bad life. But I thank him for making my life happier. Not to mention my howling dogs happiness.
Art Lawler is a reporter for the Athens Review.
Into these last nine beers
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