It has become an annual end of year tradition for The Texas Troubadour Theater. Country music royalty, Jett Williams will once again host the last show of the year for the Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree.
Williams, the daughter of Hiram King Williams (better known as Country music icon Hank Williams, Sr.) and Bobbie Jett, was born Antha Belle Jett on January 6, 1953, five days after the death of her father. Hank Sr. and Bobbie Jett had a brief relationship between his two marriages to Audrey Sheppard and Billie Jean Jones Eshlimar, respectively. In October 1952, Hank Williams, Sr. admitted paternity of Bobbie Jett's unborn child. He executed a legal agreement that gave him full custody of the child and left Bobbie Jett with only visitation rights and a one way ticket to California. Two and a half months later, Hank. Sr. would be found dead in the back of his car in Oak Hill, West Virginia on his way to a show date on New Year's Day 1953 in Canton, Ohio. What followed was the stuff Hollywood movies are made of.
In addition to the custody agreement between Williams, Sr. and Bobbie Jett, it was also stipulated that Bobbie Jett would reside with Hank, Sr.'s mother, Lillian, in her Montgomery, AL boarding house until the birth of the child. Upon the death of Lillian's son, Hank, Sr., and Lillian's subsequent adoption of the child in late 1954, the child's name was changed Catherine Yvonne Williams. It was less than a year later that Lillian Williams passed away, leaving the child a ward of the State of Alabama. Once again, the child was adopted and her name changed to Cathy Louise Deupree.
Fast forward a few decades to the 1980s. Cathy Louise Deupree knew that she was an adopted child but, because of the circumstances of the agreement executed previously, legal records had been sealed and she was un able to gain any additional information of the facts. It was during her searching that Cathy Louise Deupree met Washington, D.C. investigative attorney Keith Adkinson. Over the many months of searching, legal issues and discoveries, in 1985, Cathy Louise Deupree was proven to be Hank Williams, Sr.'s biological daughter. That same year Keith Adkinson and Cathy Louise Deupree were married. On October 26, 1987, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Deupree-Adkinson that she was entitle to half of the Hank Williams, Sr. estate due to past fraud and judicial error in her claims. Unfortunately, Adkinson passed away earlier this year.
Today, Jett Williams, a name she took to memorialize both her biological parents, is firmly entrenched into the life and legacy of her iconic father and the Country music community. Although, her biological family members such as Hank Williams, Jr. were slow in accepting the addition of a new family member, today they enjoy an amicable relationship. Both Hank, Jr. and Jett work very diligently at preserving the legacy of Hank Williams, Sr. A recent example of such acts are exhibited with the display that graced the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum entitled "Family Tradition". Additionally, the release of the "Mother's Best Flour Show" recordings hosted by Hank Williams, Sr. and aired on 650AM WSM radio in the 1950s.
Jett Williams has many accolades to her name. In 1990 she released her autobiography aptly named "Ain't Nothin' Sweeter Than My Baby". She was honored by the Tennessee legislature on May 18, 2000 by the recognition of "Jett Williams Day" in Macon County. She was made an honorary member of the Reunion of Professional Entertainers (R.O.P.E.) in 2012. She was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Historical Album.
Today, Jett Williams tours internationaly. She continues to make media appearances and has taken up public and motivational speaking on behalf of women's rights groups and adoption organizations. But, you don't have to be in attendance at one of these events to see her. As is tradition of the last several years, Jett Williams will host the last Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree, the world's second longest running radio show, of the calendar year. In honor and memory of her father, Jett takes this opportunity to present the memory and music of Hank Williams, Sr. in a timely fashion to those who loved him as a person and an entertainer and those who have recently or have yet to discover him and the impact he made on the music industry.
You are invited to the Texas Troubadour Theater adjacent to the Ernest Tubb Record Shop #2 located at 2416 Music Valley Drive in Nashville's Music Valley area across from the Opryland Hotel. The show takes place at midnight on Saturday night, December 28, 2013. The performance is free and open to the public. For more information call 615-889-2474. If you cannot be in attendace, you can also hear the broadcast through the facilities of 650AM WSM radio or on the world wide web at www.wsmonline.com.