Sam Williams, the country performer of peerless heritage as the grandson of Hank Williams Sr. and the son of Hank Jr., has been talking about his debut at the Grand Ole Opry. The latest member of the Williams dynasty to step into the famous circle played there for the first time in October 2019. Here’s the chance to catch up with the Opry’s behind-the-scenes video clip of that historic moment.
The video not only captures the moment in which Williams steps out on the world-famous Opry stage for the first time, but records his thoughts about the occasion and his own family background. Sam was born many decades after his grandfather’s premature demise at the age of 29 in 1953, but the family line remains unmistakable.
We hear from his father and major country hero in his own right, Hank Jr., as well as Sam’s sister Katie Williams-Dunning, his stepsisters Holly and Hilary Williams and from singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier, with whom he wrote a song he performed on the night, “Can’t Fool Your Own Blood.”
“For me, having my Opry debut means that I’ve been doing the right thing,” he says in the clip. “I’m putting my heart in my music and not pretending to be something that I’m not, and to have an institution this special recognize that and invite me to the stage, it’s very validating.
“It gives you chills”
Hank Sr.’s own relationship with the Opry was not always harmonious, but his presence remains in the building, as Sam discovered. “I’m the last grandson of Hank Williams, but at the same time, I was born in 1997 and I’m not sitting there listening to my family’s catalog on loop all the time. I think walking around in these halls and this building, it’s definitely a little bit heavy. His suit’s on display right there. I’ve never seen that suit in person before, and it gives you chills, but it’s warm at the same time.”
Sam released his debut single “Darkwater” in 2016 and followed it with “The Lost Grandchild’s Plea” in 2018, followed by “Weatherman” last year. In September 2019, the singer-songwriter opened for Cam on her eight-date Oh, The Places We’ll Go! European tour.