CATCHING UP WITH ... HANK LOCKLIN

Falling All Over Again

Ask Hank Locklin how he's feeling these days, and he answers with a hearty weather report: "Somewhere between a cyclone and a gentle breeze." But whatever way the wind blows, the spry 83-year-old is still kicking up plenty of dust.

"The Lord has truly blessed me," declares Hank. "My health is good and my voice is as clear as ever!"

And he has the evidence to back up his claim: his first album in more than 30 years, titled Generations In Song. On the just-released CD, Hank reprises his biggest hits such as "Please Help Me I'm Falling," "Let Me Be The One" and "Send Me The Pillow You Dream On."

Generations of Hank's friends and admirers join him on the album for some classic duets. "Vince Gill sings 'Danny Boy' with me and it sounds great," Hank raves. "Dolly Parton and I do 'Send Me The Pillow.' I also have Opry greats Jeannie Seely and Jan Howard on the record with me."

Hank's son, Hank Adam Locklin, produced the album and helped round up the stars. "He is a good musician and a good writer," proclaims the elder Hank with pride. "He's the one who really encouraged me to make this album!"

Hank laid down the tracks at an age when most artists have simply laid down. But Hank counters, "I have never thought about retiring for good. I want to be as busy as I can be."

Hank no longer tours, but he often leaves the family homestead in Brewton, Ala., for the occasional road date, accompanied by his wife, Anita.

"The fans always want to hear 'Please Help Me I'm Falling,' which I never tire of doing because that was the song that brought me to the Opry. It's a song that has never diminished with time."

Neither has Hank. "We are getting attention on the album every day, and that's exciting to me," he admits. And with a warm laugh, he tacks on, "You know, this might just work out to be something."

-- Bob Paxman

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