My friend Jack Murray asked me (assigned me) to open up his annual evening of Hank songs and I obliged with a short set of tunes. I started with Santa Assassin, knowing it helps break the plane between me and the audience.

I had worked up two Hank classics I Can’t Help It If I’m Still in Love with You and I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, two really beautiful sad tunes with great phrasing and lyrics. I particularly enjoyed working in some country slurs and voice breaks. Got my country on. I had worked these up a couple of hours beforehand, changed the keys and they worked out well.

“A picture from the past came slowly stealing, as I brushed your arm and stood so close to you  Then suddenly I got that old time feeling, I can’t help it if I’m still in love with you.”

This one resonated with my interaction with Kim last week when we celebrated our son’s promotion in Atlantic City. It all came back the and it still hurts. Still in love.


“Hear the lonesome whippoorwill,
He sounds too blue to fly.
The midnight train is whining low.
I’m so lonesome I could cry.”

Great imagery on that one and, again, it resonates with my present state of mind after the holidays. Hank could really mine the depths of despair and make you love it.

I found that these sharing these tunes with this audience lent itself to some nice sing-alongs. Good. Sharing helps.

I finished up with a Paul Siebel song Pinto Pony, a feature length movie in three verses. I knew this one cold and it was good to finish strong. I talked about Paul’s only visit to this stage one month after opening up the club in 1976. He was the first major act to perform here and he brought in a crackjack band. A great night and one of many to follow.

I introduced Jack Murray and The Blue Tarp Wranglers and they did a great job of recalling Hank, Ricky Nelson and Townes Van Zandt. Great instrumentals on steel, fiddle and guitar along with bass and drums. The audience picked up on the good vibes. A mighty fine production from my friends.