Various Artists 'The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams' Sony Music

There has been a lot of debate and controversy surrounding this album, largely about the artists chosen to contribute to the collection, the time it's taken to complete and the nature of the project itself. The original notion was for Bob Dylan to take from these notebooks of unfinished lyrics a selection of song to complete but in the end he passed on that and finished one song and the lyrics were passed on to other artists to complete. With all such major label there is going to be a suspicion that marketing and salability plays a greater part than artist credibility. The end result is going to divide people, as the end result is so subjective to personal taste and ideals. But in the end it comes down to the music and one's own taste. So for this listener the most successful tracks include Alan Jackson, Norah Jones, Lucinda Williams and even Jack White, who some have found his vocal a little too mannered but I think it works in the context of the song and the source. That Hank Snr's granddaughter Holly Williams is here rather than his grandson Hank 111 has upset some too but again it comes down to something very personal. Most of the artists have approached the concept by either channeling the legend or by adapting the lyrics to their own style and the results may vary but are all delivered with some conviction and commitment. The last album released on Bob Dylan's imprint was also the subject of similar "who, why, what-ism" and you can never satisfy everyone. In the past we have had tributes to an artist like Merle Haggard where there was a major label tribute and an independent version and in most cases the indie release beat the major label version hands down. But in the end there\s more than enough on this album to make it, at the very least, worth a listen and in the end is is good to see these lyrics finally being used and one can hope that similar to the Woody Guthrie Billy Bragg/Wilco project that more of these songs will be finished by sympathetic and sensitive singer/songwriters.