Ed Guy and Chris Lash are going Hankin’.
By that, they mean they are on a quest to know more about country music legend Hank Williams’ life. It may have been 60 years since Williams died, but to many — Guy and Lash included — his music remains alive.
“Hank Williams transcends time, because you can hear the pain in his voice,” Lash said over an old recording of one of Williams’ radio shows. “That’s how people relate. They say, ‘This guy is living what I’m going through.’”
Guy nodded his head from across the room.
“He really made peoples’ lives more bearable,” Guy said. “He summed it up. People cried when they heard his music; in fact, he cried during some of his own performances.”
The two men met and bonded over a mutual love for Williams several months ago and quickly began making plans to go Hankin’. This autumn, they will be traveling to Louisiana to meet and interview Williams’ second wife.
In the meantime, they are working to produce a tribute to Williams’ life at the Flagler Playhouse next month. The show will feature one of the top Hank Williams tribute performers as well as a selection of Williams memorabilia to view and purchase.
“It’s not a concert,” Lash said. “It’s a show.”
Jason Petty, who won an Obie award for his performance as Williams, will be performing songs and telling Williams’ life story at the show, which will run twice on August 3.
Memorabilia will come from Guy’s private collection, which he acquired throughout his career. Although he donated much of it to various museums when he retired, much of his collection remains in his home.
Guy has boxes of vinyl and stacks of CDs. He has tour posters, recordings from Williams’ radio show and old photographs. He was instrumental in tracking down some of the only video footage of Williams recording life (“You just have to know the right people and then pester them until you convince them it’s for the best to release their material,” Guy said).
His merchandizing endeavors led him to start his mail-order business, Hank Williams Collectables. He sold memorabilia to people across the country for years, relying on word of mouth and his extensive music industry network for advertising.
Lash, who owned publications and still owns radio stations, just launched a new magazine, County Music Legends, which will complement his work with Guy. The quarterly magazine will feature information about old country as well as contemporary artists. Its first issue printed June 1, and it opened with a story written by Guy about Williams.
But now that they have met, the two want to start Guy’s business again — this time, with a website at hankwilliamscollectables.com.
In addition, the two hope to host shows similar to the one they are holding in Palm Coast throughout the country. They also want to create a television show to document their efforts.
“People still care about Williams, after all this time,” Lash said. “He’s still relevant — that’s the sign of a true artist.”
The show, “Hank Williams and My Honky Tonk Heroes,” will play at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Aug. 3. Tickets cost $30, and are available at the Flagler Playhouse box office or by calling 586-0773.
For more information about Hank Williams Collectables or the show at the Flagler Playhouse, contact Lash at 724-516-8885 or [email protected].