If the current crop of country luminaries is grappling with such demons, they certainly haven't let on: Jackson, Twain, and Brooks may sing about tragedies on occasion but only rarely, and when they do, they don't even pretend that they're referring to themselves. But Williams was. Complete makes it clear that his life and his art were indistinguishable from each other. He didn't die for country music's sins; he had more than enough of his own, thank you. But he set a standard for honesty and truth-telling that precious few of his successors are even trying to equal.

That's a tragedy worthy of a country song. Too bad Hank's not around to write it.

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