Montgomery isn’t a city that I had a plan for in the way that I usually prepare for locations I would consider featuring on the blog. In that vein, driving into Montgomery with John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery” on the radio after seeing Prine play in Nashville (possibly in hindsight as one of his last public appearances before his passing) led me to explore the City on my route between Nashville and New Orleans.
When I set out on the multi state trip that has yielded quite a bit of content I expected the country music and bluegrass connections in Nashville, Blues in Memphis and Jazz in New Orleans. Yet, what I quickly learned is the breadth of connection to the entire Gulf Coast area; that the music and the culture resonates in it’s own flavor across the map. Each town with a different level of saturation of exposure developed and impacted slightly by regional cross contaminations.
Hank Williams’ contribution to Music cannot be understated. The country Singer-Songwriter penned and presented a 35 Billboard Top 10 single career (5 released posthumously) that ended abruptly at age 29 due to heart failure in 1953. The legacy that Williams left musically is accompanied by a reality of alcoholism and prescription drug abuse. Many of Williams’ songs have been covered since his passing by a wide variety of artists across genre’s.
Montgomery is where Williams moved to start his career and is also where his remains have been laid to rest. Montgomery, for Williams provided a beginning and an end. As a traveler between two other locations, Montgomery provided a small look into the effect that one’s powerful catalogue can have across time.
I was too many ounces of water and tea full as I pulled into Montgomery. My bladder was past sending me helpful reminders and instead wanted to do a dance. I haven’t decided if it was tango, the electric slide, or a line dance. People might not think I have rhythm, but under the right circumstances, I can hustle. I found parking and made a b line to a jimmy johns to find facilities and grab a small bite near the Williams Museum.
I had a small bite and walk around the main street. Briefly, I passed unfamiliar buildings, strolling past memories that others had made and left. I set out to find a different side of Montgomery, as the music I listen to conveyed. One that describes struggle and turmoil brewing beneath the surface. If history that Williams lived was a place while sporting a reassuring smile, and Montgomery a specific choice to represent his life and death, the overlap of the location of Montgomery is no coincidence. To that effect, “Hey, Good Lookin'” arrives as it holds both a sheen of pristine order with tones of storied past.
So, how about cookin’ somethin’ up with me?
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