September 8

A Look Back on Jean Shepard and Hawkshaw Hawkins: Country Pioneers and Sweethearts

They say soul mates are two bodies sharing the same soul. Such was the spectacle watching Jean Sheppard and Hawkshaw Hawkins in this rare video. They may not have a done a duet, yet it is evident that these two were bound by a common passion for their kind of music.


Another noteworthy observation was the choice of songs they sang. Jean sings of moving on from a dying romance and self-soothing by not giving in to her female sentimentalities.  This was followed by Hawkshaw crooning a love interest to receive his love, begging her to take a chance, and that he’s at her mercy. Hmm… Two lonely beings met at an opportune time.

Eventually, they got married; two musicians trailblazing their legacy in the country world. When the kids start coming, Jean, understandably, had to take a break. To meet the demands of raising a family, she made a choice of becoming a devoted wife and mom. Unfortunately, their years of blissful family life was short-lived when Hawkshaw’s plane crashed. He and other country celebrities including Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas, and Randy Hughes were killed in the tragedy.

Sorrowful, Jean nearly abandoned her music career. Thankfully, she came back in 1964 and proved to be a versatile artist with more hits the following years until the late ‘70s. At present, she’s praised and will be remembered as either “The Matriarch” or “The Grandmother” of classic and traditional country music. She rested in peace at a ripe age of 82 last year on September 25.

As for Hawkshaw, what a shame that he did not live to see the success of his biggest hit yet, Lonesome 7-7203. It was #1 for 4 weeks and had been on the top charts for 25 weeks. He could have been spared from the aircraft tragedy had he not switched plane tickets with Billy Walker. Had he survived, we might have some dream duets of him and Jean on records today.

The world may forget him in the passing years, but to Jean and the people who loved him, his legacy as a good husband and father had lived on.


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