Duo to perform Hank Williams Sr. classics at The Capitol Theatre
CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Elvis Presley once said that “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” was one of the saddest songs he ever heard.
Hank Williams Sr. excelled at writing songs about love found and love lost. The “Tribute to Hank Williams”, taking place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29, at The Capitol Theatre in Chambersburg features selections that deal with the heart.
“I probably heard Hank Williams’ music starting around 45 years ago,” Cathy Fink, 65, host and artistic director said in a telephone interview from her studio in Silver Spring, Md. “‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ is a classic. When you look at that song, in about 11 distinct lines, Hank Williams says everything you could know about how this person is feeling, and he says it with simple and gorgeous pretty. There’s a song called ‘No One Will Ever Know,’ I would call that equally sad to ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.’ ‘I’m So Lonesome’ is a perfect country song, and the fact that you could paint that entire picture with 11 lines is really amazing. It’s my favorite song, although I love the entire repertoire, which is why I wanted to put the show together.”
Williams wrote songs that became country standards.
“I can’t think of another country writer whose songs stand the test of time,” Fink said. “Hank recorded about 99 songs, and about 25 of them are going to be classics forever. To write songs that are classics forever, The Beatles have done that, the Gershwins have done that. There’s not 100 writers that have done that, there’s a small handful.”
This is the 22nd year Fink has performed the tribute; she’s also the founder, artistic director, performer and organizer.
“I sing, and I play banjo and guitar. I’m in a duo with Marcy Marxer, she plays guitar and mandolin, and also sings,” Fink said. “We’re in a duo. We have a backup band, there’s three lead entities, Robin and Linda Williams, and Pete and Maura Kennedy. There’s three lead acts, and we share the vocals. Part of the fun here is that everybody plays with everybody else. We have a great band, and we’re all longtime friends. This is our 22nd year of doing this show. It’s really centered around this amazing repertoire of country music by Hank Williams.”
Performing the shows around New Year’s Eve was an intentional decision for Fink.
“I had always wanted to do a tribute to Hank Williams around New Year’s Eve,” she said. “He passed away on New Year’s Eve 1953 at the young age of 29. I just felt like there would be a lot of people who would want to celebrate this repertoire, and it turned out to be true. The camaraderie on stage makes it special, and the audience knows a ton of these songs. It’s pretty hard to sing ‘Jambalaya’ and not have the whole audience sing along. That’s lots of fun. Also, the musicianship is incredible. Patrick McAvimue, he’s one of the top fiddle players in the country. He tours with a very famous bluegrass band Dailey and Vincent, he takes these three days off from Dailey and Vincent to be part of our show.”
Hank Williams wrote songs that played to people’s emotions, making them timeless.
“I think it’s universal for people to want to hear songs about the heart,” Fink said. “Everyone has a love lost or love found, and that’s what the majority of these songs allude to, although he also has a lot of gospel songs that he wrote under the pseudonym ‘Luke the Drifter.’ It’s not hard for people to relate to songs about finding and losing love and how your heart feels about it.”
Top photo: Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer will perform a tribute to Hank Williams Sr. on Saturday, Dec. 29, at The Capitol Theater in Chambersburg, Pa. (Submitted photo)