Monday, April 4, 2016

Hank's Car

                                                                                                                       Photos of model: Tom Casesa

Charles Carr died in July of 2013.  He was the 17 year old boy who was driving Hank Williams when he died in the back seat of his 1952 baby blue Cadillac convertible, on route to a concert in Canton Ohio.   He died at some point in the night, but the specifics are still a little mysterious.  Carr has said very little over the years since, and there is a feeling that we never  quite got the full story of what happened that night.  The event has been mythologized a fair bit, in books, films and art work.   Sometimes the event is  called his "Last Ride" or referred to as "The Show He Never Gave". There's a 1980 movie by that title, and last year another movie, The Last Ride was released.

 I met Carr in the late 90s at a Hank fest in Alabama.  A friend of mine tracked Carr down and brought him to the museum in Montgomery.  The museum was selling replicas of Hank's car. I bought one and  Carr signed it across the hood.  Amazing to have this. 

On the same trip I met two of the then surviving Drifting Cowboys, steel guitarist Don Helms and fiddle player Jerry Rivers and saw them perform.  Their signatures are on my acoustic guitar. I had the chance to interview Don in 1997.  He is credited with giving Hank' band it's distinct sound.  You can see a video slide show I  made of the interview here:  Don Helms interview.  When he passed in 2008 he was the last remaining member of the core Drifting Cowboy Band.  


                                                                                                                                 Photos by Tom Casesa

Hank Williams

Finally, I overdubbed one of Hank's demo songs with my piano.   You can see/hear it here:

Tom and Hank

Tom, around 15 yo, with Ole Hank photoshopped in. 


  1. Cool post. I was not familiar with the events of Hank's death. Great job on the music! You are a talented guy.

  2. Hi Tom, thank you so much for this little gem of a story about a country legend. Being European i'm more or less oblivious of all these anecdotes that make up a part of what the cultural (or musical) history of America is all about. Great to read bout this mysterious event, that i guess is all to well know amongst you lot.

    Learning something every day :) So Thanks! And seeing a blue convertible Cadilac will never be the same.

  3. Hey guys, thanks for the nice comments.. Sorry about the long overdue response. I genuinely appreciate the time you all took to write, but just got sidetracked in my effort to respond. Thanks!