How Important Is Authenticity? A Question for Sam Williams (Grandson of Hank)

by Amos White

How Important Is Authenticity?

Most country music fans, and certainly the classic country fans, will remember Tammy Wynette’s heartbreaking song “Til I Can Make It On My Own” which was one of her many #1 hits. Making this song a duet implies the relationship is between the singers, and this isn’t about friendship. These are lovers, not buds. 

Sam Williams and Carter Faith are up and coming “Nashville Stars” competently singing covers and originals in the New Nashville Sound. That just means it is very clean contemporary adult pop country, and yes it is just as plastic as it sounds. With Sam Williams, Son of outlaw great Hank Jr, coming out as gay last year, him being part of a love ballad with Carter Faith is all the more plastic. 

As a country music fan that was raised on Outlaw Country, I feel that authenticity is important in songwriting and performing. Im certain a lot of that was crafted with the bigger stars of the day, but David Allen Coe’s story of why he was on death row, for using a mop bucket to kill a man that approached him for sex in the shower, was real and was a key piece in his story. It’s doubtful that Sam Williams would handle the situation the same, but all joking aside, revivalist and outlaw country were alluring because we were sold their authenticity. 

How Important Is Authenticity?

Most country music fans, and certainly the classic country fans, will remember Tammy Wynette’s heartbreaking song “Til I Can Make It On My Own” which was one of her many #1 hits. Making this song a duet implies the relationship is between the singers, and this isn’t about friendship. These are lovers, not buds. 

Sam Williams and Carter Faith are up and coming “Nashville Stars” competently singing covers and originals in the New Nashville Sound. That just means it is very clean contemporary adult pop country, and yes it is just as plastic as it sounds. With Sam Williams, Son of outlaw great Hank Jr, coming out as gay last year, him being part of a love ballad with Carter Faith is all the more plastic. 

As a country music fan that was raised on Outlaw Country, I feel that authenticity is important in songwriting and performing. Im certain a lot of that was crafted with the bigger stars of the day, but David Allen Coe’s story of why he was on death row, for using a mop bucket to kill a man that approached him for sex in the shower, was real and was a key piece in his story. It’s doubtful that Sam Williams would handle the situation the same, but all joking aside, revivalist and outlaw country were alluring because we were sold their authenticity. 

I think Sam Williams and Carter Faith are very talented performers, and although it is cool to see new performers pay an homage to classic country songs, I need to be able to believe what I’m hearing. Does that mean a gay dude can’t sing a love ballad with a female? Or course not. But I really don’t want to hear it, and I don’t think it was wise for Sam Williams to have “come out” while trying to build a country music career. It would be genuinely interesting to hear the logic behind this choice when there is a huge cultural blowback against this form of virtue signalling. If someone wants a country music career and they live an alternative lifestyle, its probably wise to keep it to themself. The single drops today (February 9th) and it might bring back some fond memories of the past. It might be worth one listen, but it wont revolutionize anything. Here it is:

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