I found out this morning that today is the day that Hank Williams, Sr. was born. He was born on September 17, 1923, in Mount Olive, Ala., and to this day is one of the most influential stars in country music. Hank's life ended way too soon. He died on New Years Eve/Day in 1953 as a result of the many years of drug and alcohol abuse that took control and affected his career, personal life and, eventually, his health.

It is sort of ironic that the CMA Music Fest concerts will air tonight on ABC. My guess is that no mention will be made of Hank's birthday. However, if it wasn't for guys like Hank, our industry wouldn't be what it is today. Hank didn't "play the game" the way he was expected to. During his time, it would have been easy to be a cookie cutter voice or write cookie cutter lyrics to sound like what people imagine country music should sound like. But Hank had a way of putting his thoughts into music in a way that no other could and very few still are able to. When you hear a Hank Williams song, you are hearing the heart and soul of a man who had demons battling inside.

I'm not sure if it was the pressures of the business or just the high of being stoned or drunk that made Hank live such a dangerous lifestyle. Somehow, the emotions and feeling and thoughts he had inside made their way to paper and to tape for all of us to hear. And no matter who you get to sing them, NOBODY sings a Hank Williams song like Hank did.

The stars of today owe a great deal to Hank. In a world that expects perfection and formalities, Hank went against all that was status quo or trendy. I get lost in his lyrics and try to put myself into every story or message that is within the lyrics of his songs. It is a very interesting perspective. Almost eerie to think what was going through his troubled mind at various points in his life. With Hank Williams' influence on country music both then and today, country music would have no soul. Hank's footprint has given country music more feeling than any other star before or after his time.