Henry Horenstein’s images of country music extend well beyond Nashville. In fact, many of the pictures in “Honky Tonk: Portraits of Country Music” were taken in New England, at long-gone venues such as the Hillbilly Ranch in Boston and the Lone Star Ranch in New Hampshire. We asked Horenstein to tell us the stories behind these three photographs.
“The Lone Star was a country music park in New Hampshire that I used to go to every Sunday for years. Webb Pierce was a great star of the ’50s and ’60s, and he was a regular on that circuit. My memory is this couple was from Canada, and they had settled in Lowell and worked in the factories. I think they spoke French. One of them didn’t speak English at all.”
“Patron (1), Hillbilly Ranch, Boston, Massachusetts, 1972.”
“I didn’t really know him, but I’d say he was a pretty typical patron of the Hillbilly Ranch. A lot of times with those pictures at bars and honky-tonks, I didn’t really know what I was going to get, exactly. It was so dark that I would point my camera and guess at the focus and let the flash make the pictures.”
“Lilly Brothers Reunion Show, Hillbilly Ranch, Boston, Massachusetts, 1978.”
“One of the reasons the Hillbilly Ranch was so popular was because of [West Virginia’s] Lilly Brothers. The local PBS station did a documentary on them and they came back to Boston and played. They made a live album that I don’t think Rounder Records ever released. But Rounder asked me to do the cover, and that’s the picture I got.”