The Amazing Duet
George Jones and Randy Travis channeled the emotions that Hank Williams felt when he was writing this song. It’s no surprise that the two country legend sang the “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” together.
Randy Travis sang the first verse and the great George Jones took the lead for the second. And, they performed an amazing harmony together on the last verse.
One of the voices of country music, Randy Travis has been known to cover this song throughout his career.
In fact, it was the very first song he ever sang at his Grand Ole Opry debut in 1986.
The Original Version
According to the writer of Hank Williams’ Biography, Colin Escott, Hank was inspired to write the song when he found it on a schedule of upcoming MGM releases. On August 30, 1949, the song was recorded at Herzog Studio in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The song was recorded on August 30, 1949, at Herzog Studio in Cincinnati, Ohio. Williams is backed by members of the Pleasant Valley Boys – Zeke Turner (lead guitar), Jerry Byrd (steel guitar), and Louis Innis (rhythm guitar) – as well as Tommy Jackson (fiddle) and Ernie Newton (bass). As Escott observes, the plaintive despair in Williams’ voice on the recording is echoed by the backing of the musicians:
“Zeke Turner underpinned ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ with recurring figures on the bass strings of the electric guitar. A few weeks earlier, Turner had led the backing on the Delmore Brothers’ recording of ‘Blues Stay Away From Me’ using very similar licks…Jerry Byrd played a solo of unusual simplicity, paraphrasing the melody to haunting effect, subtly adjusting tone and volume. Hank sang with unshakable conviction.”
Rolling Stone ranked it No. 111 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, the oldest song on the list, and No. 3 on its 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time.