Style: Classic country honky-tonk; compare to Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, George Jones
Top tracks: "The Love That Faded," "I Hope You Shed a Million Tears," "The Sermon on the Mount"
When Hank Williams died in 1953, he left behind a briefcase of song lyrics without accompanying melodies. Bob Dylan eventually bought them and farmed them out to a Who's Who of contemporary musicians—including Norah Jones, Jack White, Lucinda Williams, Merle Haggard, and Sheryl Crow—who wrote a dozen new songs in the classic Williams honky-tonk style. Dylan's "The Love That Faded" is a rueful highlight. Haggard's "The Sermon on the Mount" is a straightforward country hymn, while Vince Gill's and Rodney Crowell's "I Hope You Shed a Million Tears" ("The Bible says forgive you, but that's something I can't do") illustrates the conflicted flip side of the hellraiser who couldn't stop thinking about heaven.1
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