Dylan, Jack White, others finish Hank songs

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Bob Dylan is heading up a project to have several artists write music and record some of Hank Williams' final lyrics, according to Steppin’ In It bassist Dominic Suchyta, who played on one of the tracks.

“This project started when Bob Dylan acquired the ‘lost’ Hank Williams songs,” Suchyta tells Paste. “Essentially, the lyric sheets Hank died with in his briefcase. Jack is my oldest friend, we talk on occasion and he asked me to come down and record. Dylan had contacted him to see if he'd like to finish some of these tunes.”

White recorded the song at Blackbird Studios in Nashville with engineer Joe Chiccarelli, Suchyta on upright bass, Carla Azar (Autolux) on drums, Donny Herron (Bob Dylan, BR549) on 8-string guitar and Dean Fertita (Raconteurs, Waxwings) on acoustic guitar. “We did the session in one long day,” Suchyta says of the secret taping, “live in a circle with some mics around—much like Hank would have.”

They recorded an unfinished Williams song called “You Know That I Know.” “No one has heard it as it was a Hank Williams lyric sheet that Jack put to music and edited a bit,” says Suchyta. “Jack was sent most of or all of the unfinished tunes and picked this one to finish. We listened to quite a bit of Hank while I was down there and sat around the two of us playing our favorite Hank tunes, but the song was done when I got there. I think Jack just ingested a bunch of Hank Williams and this is what came out of him.”

Suchyta says that Dylan didn’t record with White that day, “but I wouldn't put it past either of them. They seem to be cut from the same cloth, sort of misplaced Midwestern brothers. I do know Jack has joined him on stage quite a bit and joined him for his XM radio show. When we were high school teenagers, we recorded quite a few Dylan tunes on our old 4-track reel machine. I remember having a nice version of ‘Masters Of War’ on some cassette somewhere. Jack played drums and guitar, I played bass and guitar.”

The entire participant list is still under wraps. “No doubt Dylan recorded a tune for it with the Modern Times sessions,” Suchya posits. “I've also heard through the grapevine that Willie Nelson and Norah Jones are involved, but like I said this is a shot in the dark. It's been an interesting project in that sense. I’m a huge fan of Hank Williams and was moved to hear what Jack had to contribute.”

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