CMT Blog: Hank Williams Legacy Continues in The Last Ride

A few years ago at Fan Fair — known these days as the CMA Music Festival — I was walking through the exhibit hall, looking at the booths promoting various country artists. Along the way, I noticed a display for a female country singer who’d enjoyed success in the ’70s. Ironically, it was positioned across from another one devoted to Hank Williams Sr., who died on New Year’s Day in 1953. As I pointed out to a friend, “The difference between the two of them is that Hank’s dead, but his career isn’t.” Country music fans and historians will be discussing Williams’ music for many generations to come, and his enduring popularity is evidenced with the arrival of The Last Ride , a new film opening June 22 in New York City and June 29 in Los Angeles. Henry Thomas, who gained fame three decades ago as a child actor in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, stars as the country icon in the film that chronicles his final, ill-fated road trip to a show in Canton, Ohio. The soundtrack album features songs performed by Jett Williams (Hank’s daughter) and contemporary Christian vocalists Russ Taff and Michael English, among others. The entire soundtrack album is now being streamed on Facebook in advance of its release on June 19 on Curb Records. The Last Ride will be released nationally to theaters this summer and is expected to be available on DVD and Blu-ray early next year.

Calvin Gilbert has served as’s managing editor since 2002. His background includes stints at the Nashville Banner, Radio & Records and Westwood One.