Sometimes meeting your heroes just doesn’t go exactly as you might have hoped, dreamed or planned. Especially when one of those heroes is none other than Hank Williams, Jr.
Lee has been enjoying quite a bit of success these last few years, thanks to powerhouse songs such as “Love Like Crazy,” “A Woman Like You,” and his current Top 10 single, “Hard To Love.”
But before Lee had ever reached the country charts, he was just another struggling songwriter in Nashville. And it was during that period that he, somewhat randomly, got to meet Hank Jr. backstage after a CMT program about outlaw country.
“I had just started writing in town, didn’t have a record deal going,” Lee explained. As he tells it, he “just happened to be on” Hank Jr.’s bus, thanks to a record label friend of his.
“I walked on the bus,” says Lee, “and I had a little bottle of whiskey in my hand, and it was about empty. And Hank said in front of all the people, ‘Hey boy, let me show you something.’ And he brought me back to his ‘broom closet,’ he called it. But he said, ‘There’s more than brooms in this closet.'” Said closet, says Lee, “had some green label Jack and some stuff like that in there. So he said, ‘You just come back here whenever you want some.'”
A little bit later on, Lee explains, “I said, ‘Hey Hank, I think I’m gonna take you up on your offer.’ And he said, ‘You know where it’s at.’ And he handed me his cup on the way back there, and said, ‘here, pour me one, too.'”
“So I went back there, and I figured, this is Hank Jr., right? So I just pour straight whiskey all the way to the top of this glass. Both of them. And I walk back out, set it down, and the first thing I heard as I was walking by him was, ‘Damn, son! Pour me some Coke!’ It was awesome.”
Whiskey moment aside, though, Lee calls that meeting the night of his life. “I hung out with Hank Jr. all night,” he said, “playing him songs on his Bocephus guitar, smoking cigars, and talking about the Civil War.”
Lee Brice is at Number Six on the Billboard Country Songs chart this week with his single “Hard To Love,” the title track of his latest album.
– Kurt Wolff, CBS Local