Friday's Hope for Haiti Now charity telethon had many uplifting and incandescent musical moments in it, with the country world providing its fair share. Taylor Swift, of course, shone with her performance of "Breathless"; and the mega-trio of Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, and Keith Urban doing a touching, straightforward rendition of "Lean On Me" made news headlines around the globe.
But while those were certainly fantastic contributions (I particularly enjoyed Urban's part in the collab), they aren't what I want to talk about today.
Neither Matthews nor Young are primarily country artists (although, of course, they both have relationships with the country world). It was their choice of song that stood out as remarkably demonstrative for the event: "Alone And Forsaken," by the iconic Hank Williams, Sr.
I, like countless other music fans, am enthralled by Hank Williams's history: His too-short life, his even shorter career, and--naturally--his ability to fine-tune and distill pain and hopelessness down to a perfect handful of verses. (On a personal note, I've also been long fascinated by his relationship with muse/first wife Audrey Mae Sheppard--in fact, so captivated by their tale that my own daughter is named Audrey.)
In a nutshell: Nobody--well, very few, anyway--can do hurtin' like Hank.
Given this, when I heard Matthews and Young deliver the mournful "Alone And Forsaken"--one of Williams's bleakest tunes--as their contribution to the benefit for this devastating tragedy, I was frozen.
Alone and forsaken, by fate and by man,
Oh Lord, if you hear me, please hold my hand.
Brilliant, heartbreaking, pure, true.
Hank, as always, you win again.
Please note: All of the musical performances for the event are available for $.99 per song through Apple's iTunes store--with all proceeds benefitting Haiti through Hope For Haiti Now charities. Follow this link to iTunes for more information.
And, much more information about this very worthy cause can be had at http://www.hopeforhaitinow.org/.
As always, be sure to:
- Hank Williams