Hank Williams Jr. Explains Why He’s Not a Grand Ole Opry Member [Watch]
Hank Williams Jr. isn't a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and he says he never will be. The singer's reasoning dates back 60 years, and really boils down to musical preference.
Talking to Taste of Country Nights, Williams Jr. held nothing back as he rolled from talk of his recent Country Music Hall of Fame induction to a conversation about the Grand Ole Opry. His father, Hank Williams, was a member of the esteemed institution, but was fired one year before his death for missing too many shows. That's not why he's never become a member. There's no animosity — it's just not what he grew up dreaming of.
"I wasn't listening to no Grand Ole Opry, brother," Williams Jr. tells ToC Nights host Evan Paul of his raising. Highlights from the interview can be found above, and the full conversation below.
"Don't get me wrong, I love going there and being around those guys, but when I'm in the back of that car and I'm 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 years old, I said put it on WLAC, Hoss Allen."
Some context: during the 1950s, 60s and 70s, WLAC was a great R&B station with larger-than-life DJs like Bill "Hossman" Allen. The signal had tremendous reach and was especially important in the Deep South.
"Bobby 'Blue' Bland, Bo Diddley — I said, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah. Put it on that station right there.' That's what I was listening to."
At about the 6-minute mark of the above video, you'll find Williams doing his best Hoss Allen impersonation as he lists a sponsor. All of this makes sense to fans familiar with his Thunderhead Hawkins blues persona. That's what drove the new Rich White Honky Blues album, available now.
The album is filled with covers of blues songs by Muddy Waters, Lightnin' Hopkins, R.L. Burnside and Robert Johnson, plus three originals. During the full conversation, Williams shares stories of Johnny Cash and Brad Paisley, and explains where the title Rich White Honky Blues comes from.