Hank Williams has been performing shows in Alabama since 1937 — 87 years ago.

From 1937 to his death on Jan. 1, 1953, it was Hank Williams, Sr., the father.

From 1963 to now, it is Hank Williams, Jr., the son — 60 years on stage and still singing.     

Hank Jr., “Bocephus” comes back to Alabama on Friday, April 5, at the Birmingham Jefferson Community Complex (BJCC).

People in Alabama who still love and listen to his father's immortal music think of Bocephus as "young Hank," so it is difficult to think of him as 74.

There is a line from a 1960s rhythm and blues hit: “How long can this go on?” That line would make a good title for a future Hank Jr. song. His 60-year career on the singing stage has survived the decades; early use of alcohol and drugs; a life-threatening mountain fall; a stark transition from his father’s style to his own; and living to age 74.

How long can this go on?

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the album that steered Hank Jr. in a new direction of his own making. Away from impersonating his famous father. Away from old-style country blues. Away from "The Drifting Cowboys." Toward his own version of country rock, southern rock, and outlaw country. "Family Tradition," both the single and the album, was a demarcation line.

“I am very proud

Of my Daddy’s name.

Although his and my music

Ain’t exactly the same.”

"Long Gone Lonesome Blues," Hank the Father’s breakthrough hit, was also the first song recorded by Hank Jr., his recording debut. After the 1980s, those types of songs and style were long gone, replaced by outlaw country.

Hank Jr. is showing few signs of slowing down. He got married last year outside of Troy to a local lady, Brandi.

Now, Hank Jr. performs before a familiar Alabama audience on Friday, April 5 at the BJCC. Showtime is at 7 p.m.; tickets found here.

Notice with great benefit that his 2024 performances are not named “the farewell tour.”

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at ZeiglerElderCare@yahoo.com.

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