The music of Hank Williams has always been an inspiration for the cast of Country Tonite. As the number one destination for country music in Pigeon Forge, Country Tonite has tried to bring William’s heartfelt emotion and stellar musicianship to our stage shows.
That’s why we are excited to share the news that Hank Williams was recently awarded a Grammy for one of his lost recordings! Read on for everything you need to know about this surprising triumph.
Hank Williams won the 2015 Grammy Award in the category of “Best Historical Album” for the 1950 recording The Garden Spot Programs. The album contained a series of radio shows that disappeared into obscurity shortly after they were aired. It was recorded only three years before Williams passed away in 1953 and contains the only known solo version of his gospel song “Jesus Remembered Me”. In addition, the album featured Williams with a studio band rather than with his own band, the Drifting Cowboys.
How the Recording Was Discovered
The Garden Spot Programs was discovered by record collector George Gimarc, who was flipping through a large stack of old records from a radio station in Iowa. He found four of the radio shows on transcription discs that were labeled “Naughton Farms – Hank Williams”. Gimarc was shocked when he first listened to the recordings, realizing that they were something truly unique. As a result, rather than keeping the priceless records for his own collection, Gimarc and music historian Colin Escott contacted Cheryl Pawelski, co-founder of reissue label Omnivore Recordings. The label subsequently released The Garden Spot Programs on CD after the recordings were restored and remastered.
Although the recording career of Hank Williams lasted only six years, it changed country music forever. The discovery of these lost recordings gives hope that one day even more of his recordings may be discovered. The influence of Hank Williams can be seen in both our original stage show and celebrity concerts at Country Tonite. Come out to our theatre during your next trip to the Smokies to hear the best country music in Pigeon Forge!