What is Hanky Panky?

Hanky Panky is the first in a (planned) series of Tribute albums. Matt Johnson provided the following introduction in the album liner:

There are few songwriters this century who have expressed the deep ache of lonliness and the longing for love as darkly and sweetly as Hank Williams. He was one of those rare talents (in any art form) to either transcend or change the course of their genre. Dead by the age of 29, he'd already achieved in a recording career of under 6 years what most artists would be proud to accomplish in a lifetime.

Though not a formally educated man, Williams was articulate in the language of the heart and one senses a weird kind of alchemy at work as he transformed pure, undiluted pain into simple songs of such profound truth & beauty that they touched and uplifted (and continue to touch and uplift) the souls of millions.

The choice of songs here may, or may not, surprise people but after many, many months of both listening to virtually everything he ever recorded and reading every published lyric I could find, I decided to follow my instinct and interpret the ones which moved me the most on a raw emotional level. This meant leaving out some of his better known titles, including "Hey Good Lookin'," "You Win Again" & even the beautiful "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry."

Ultimately, though, while the band and myself have attempted to The The-ize his music and stretch and twist it around a bit, we've also tried to stay true to the emotional essence at the core of Hank Williams' work. --Matt Johnson

Hanky Panky is the first in an occaisonal series of albums celebrating the great singer/songwriters.

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