JETT Williams comes from country music royalty.
The singer, who is coming to Australia for the first time next year, was born in 1953, five days after the death of her father Hank Williams, and she grew up not knowing the country music star was her father.
She was 21 when she discovered the man who recorded classic songs such as Your Cheating Heart, Hey Good Lookin’, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry and Lovesick Blues was her father.
Williams Snr was country music’s greatest superstar by the age of 25, and dead by 29.
His career included many hit songs, a legacy that influenced country and rock ‘n’ roll for decades to come because of the universal themes of his lyrics that audiences can still relate to.
But his career was also affected by alcoholism, an addiction to painkillers and a troubled personal life.
Almost three months before she was born, Hank Williams and Jett’s mother, Frances ‘Bobbie’ Jett, had reached an agreement that Williams and his mother would be responsible for the baby after its birth.
But with Williams’ death at the age of 29, less than a week before her birth, the newborn would never know her famous father.
Williams’ mother Lillian legally adopted Jett before she was two-years-old, but less than two years later Lillian died and the little girl was then adopted by parents who gave her a new name.
She was later adopted again, and her famous heritage would remain a secret.
Jett, like her half-brother Hank Williams Jnr and his son Hank Williams III, has establised herself as a recording artist, making her professional debut in 1989 and appearing on the Grand Ole Opry in 1993 – the radio show which her father was sacked from due to his alcohol abuse and becoming unreliable.
She has worked with Hank’s band the Drifting Cowboys, a group led by original member Don Helms.
She has recorded some of her father’s songs, including Move It On Over, and There’s A Tear In My Beer, which was first released as a duet between Hanks Snr and Jnr, more than 30 years after the death of Hank Snr.
Next year Jett will be doing a 10-day tour of Australia, which will include playing at the Clarence Valley Country Muster near Grafton.
For six days in late October, Wendy Gordon throws open her farm gate to host the country music festival.
Artists appearing this year include headliner Adam Harvey, Terry Gordon, Lynette Guest, Glenn Jones, Lawrie and Shelley Minson and Greg Bain.
Jett will be the first artist from the Williams’ family to visit Australia.
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