Hank Williams - I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

First performance: 03/05/1988


Bruce soundchecked the song only once:
1988-05-03 Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA 
Bruce allows a few hundred people in early who had been in line since noon to hear the last song of the soundcheck, Roy Orbison's "Crying". Brucebase has previously also listed "Big Boss Man" as being soundchecked, but this has been retracted pending verification. The soundcheck, recorded seems to be 'Dimples' instead of 'Big Boss Man'


"I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" is a song recorded by Hank Williams in 1949. Williams said he wrote the song originally intending that the words be spoken, rather than sung, as he had done on several of his Luke the Drifter recordings. Ostensibly, the song about loneliness was largely inspired by his troubled relationship with wife Audrey Sheppard. With evocative lyrics, such as the opening lines "Hear that lonesome whip-poor-will/He sounds too blue to fly," . Elvis Presley introduced it by saying, "I'd like to sing a song that's...probably the saddest song I've ever heard." Remarkably, the song was released as the B-side to the blues "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It" because up-tempo numbers were deemed more appropriate for the jukebox trade than melancholy ballads. 

Other cover versions

Bruce on the artist

During the keynote speech at the 2012 South by Southwest music conference : 
"I remember sitting in my little apartment, playing "Hank Williams Greatest Hits" over and over. And I was trying to crack its code, because at first it just didn't sound good to me. It just sounded cranky and old–fashioned. But it was that hard country voice and I'm playing it, and it was an austere instrumentation. But slowly, slowly, my ears became accustomed to it, it's beautiful simplicity, and it's darkness and depth. And Hank Williams went from archival, to alive for me, before my very eyes."
Bruce also referes in some songs to lyrics from Williams 
I went down to the river to watch the fish swim by
But when I got to the river so lonesome I wanted to die, oh Lord
So that I jumped in the river, but the doggone river was dry
She's long gone, and now I'm lonesome blue


Hear that lonesome whippoorwill
He sounds too blue to fly
The midnight train is whining low
I'm so lonesome I could cry

I've never seen a night so long
When time goes crawling by
The moon just went behind the clouds
To hide its face and cry

Did you ever see a robin weep
When leaves begin to die?
Like me, he's lost the will to live
I'm so lonesome I could cry

The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky
And as I wonder where you are
I'm so lonesome I could cry