Pictured L-R: Jamey Johnson, Ken Levitan, Hank Williams Jr., Jessi Colter, Shooter Jennings, Carolyn Tate,
Michael McCall, Pamela Johnson, Hilary Williams, Holly Williams and Kirt Webster
Legendary artist Hank Williams Jr. capped the four-year run of the exhibition Family Tradition: The Williams Family Legacy just as he opened it: with a powerful solo acoustic performance spiked with personal memories. The sold-out December 6 concert, a benefit for the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum, raised $75,000.
Williams also announced that many of the artifacts he loaned to the exhibit would stay in the museum and its archives. “I’m going to work with them and leave quite a few of these items here—where they should be,” he said.
Highlights of the 90-minute show included Williams’ hits “A Country Boy Can Survive,” “Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound” and “The Blues Man” (upon which he was joined by his youngest son, Sam), as well as several tunes from a forthcoming new CD, scheduled for a March 2012 release. The concert also included a generous helping of classic material by his father and his heroes, most notably Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.
Special guests in the audience included Jessi Colter, her son Shooter Jennings and Jamey Johnson. The event also became a family celebration, with Williams’ wife, Mary Jane, his daughters Hilary and Holly and son Sam in the audience.
After the concert, Williams greeted audience members and posed for pictures in the Ford Theater. A reception followed in the Hall of Fame Rotunda, and fans received a signed poster commemorating the exhibit as they left the building.
Family Tradition opened on March 28, 2008. Originally scheduled to close on December 31, 2009, the exhibit—which offers an intimate, behind-the-scenes portrait of a great American musical dynasty—became the most popular and acclaimed exhibition in the museum’s history and was extended through December 31, 2011.