Whether it be a halftime performance by the Pirate Pride Marching Band, a Music Under the Stars concert, or a lone banjo player plucking away on North Main Street, America's Hometown has a rich music tradition. But up until now what Hannibal lacked was a song all its own. That changed Tuesday night when the city council voted to adopt "Huck Finn Blues" as its official song.
The action came with the endorsement of the city's Bicentennial Committee, which had voted unanimously to request the council and mayor to name the song, sung by Brad Paisley, as the official song.
"This song captures the spirit of historic Hannibal and two of its most famous characters, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, created by Hannibal resident Mark Twain," said Gail Bryant, director of Conventions and Tourism, in a memo to the council. "We believe naming this song our town's official song in time for our bicentennial will be an important component in raising our visibility, acknowledging our history, and distinguishing Hannibal's legacy."
"This song is a true representation of who we are," added Joel Booth of the Bicentennial Committee, citing the song's numerous references to Hannibal.
According to Bryant, the song's writers - Danny Wilson, Emily Hayes and Carl Jackson – plus Paisley have given "their blessing" regarding the song's use during next year's bicentennial celebration.
"Huck Finn Blues" appeared on the "Mark Twain: words & music" two CD set that benefited the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, to commemorate 2010, the 100th anniversary of Twain's death and 175th anniversary of his birth. Grammy Award-winner Carl Jackson produced the project, which appeared on the Mailboat Records label.
A native of Glen Dale, W.Va., Paisley has sold over 11 million albums and won multiple Grammy Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards, Country Music Association Awards and American Music Awards.
Reach reporter Danny Henley at email@example.com