An interview with songstress Jett Williams
by Tina Hall
Jett Williams came into the world five days after the passing of her father the legendary Hank Williams. Adopted by his mother Lillian who went on to die two weeks later Jett was left a ward of the state of Alabama until she was later adopted. Jett herself made her singing debut in 1989 and was later backed by her father’s old band The Drifting Cowboys. She has since appeared in numerous shows in the U.S, Japan, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and Canada. Her autobiography Ain’t Nothing As Sweet As My Baby sheds light on a life that is hard to imagine. She has undertaken the role of continuing the legacy left by her father with a passion that is highly admirable. Jett can be heard on the soundtrack for the film The Last Ride, which details the last hours of her father’s life. It was an honor to sit down with her and catch up on what had made her who she is today.
Maximum Ink: For those who haven’t read your book and might not be familiar with your story, can you tell us a little about that?
Jett Williams: On October 15, 1952 Hank Williams signed a notarized document admitting paternity and taking custody of his unborn child, boy or girl, healthy or unhealthy. It also provided that his mother, my grandmother, would raise me for the first two years of my life. Additionally, my mother, who lived with my dad in his mother’s boarding house in Montgomery, AL during the 5 or so months of her pregnancy, got and took a one way ticket to the place of her choice in California.
My father, who prepaid all the expenses for my birth before leaving on his last ride to the concerts he never gave, just didn’t count on dying at 29. He was pronounced dead January 1, 1953; his funeral was on the 4th and I was born before the sun came up on the 6th.
My grandmother insisted on taking and raising me. My mother did not object. A compromised lawyer suggested to her that she should adopt me. She did for the right reasons. He made the recommendation for the wrong ones, because under Alabama law at the time an adopted child could not inherit.
It took my grandmother 2 years to complete the adoption and she died two weeks later. The family no longer wanted me and while she lay in state in the parlor Hank’s sister and his ex-wife Audrey decided to make me a ward of the state and the next day I was an orphan going to foster homes and then later adopted again.
I grew up not knowing who I was, until I met an attorney, Keith Adkinson, whom I later married. He got his hands on the October 15th agreement. I was satisfied at having my questions answered with the bonus of knowing I was wanted and provided for. He was not satisfied and we ultimately sued those motivated by keeping my inheritance from me and for themselves. We prevailed, after 9 years of litigation.