PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Hank Locklin was a Country music legend. He was born and raised in Santa Rosa County in the small town of Mclellan, Florida.
Locklin played a major role in the history of country music and a crew of Pensacola media professionals is making sure his legacy is never forgotten in their new documentary. The WRSE PBS media group even won their first-ever Gold Telly Award for their work.
Producer of “Hank Locklin: Country Music’s Timeless Tenor” Mary Riker says, “You know we set out thinking we would do Northwest Florida’s role in country music and I was doing the homework on it and I started looking at Hank Locklin and realized he was a big deal.”
Riker along with James Roy, Emily Hudson Mitchell, Ted King, and Tracey Burgess spent years doing work on this film, studying the history of Locklin’s life and even scoring interviews with major country artists he had impacted.
“He was so unique… He was so pure. His voice was just so high and just so rich and emotional and just had everything in his voice that a singer should have,” Country music mega-star Dolly Parton said of Locklin.
However, the most interesting thing Riker tells WKRG News 5 is how Locklin never forgot where he came from — a small little town in Florida.
“He made this his home which is why we maybe don’t remember him well because he was never residing in Nashville… maybe just for six months,” Riker says.
The crew also found some stories most people would never know.
“There’s a fun story Ralph Emory talks about ‘Please Help Me I’m Falling’ was a huge hit and was number one for 14 weeks. Hank Locklin didn’t even know it had become a hit. He didn’t even know it was number one because he didn’t have phone service,” Riker says.
Now, all their hard work, grant money, community donations, and drive earned the Golden Telly Award. The “Hank Locklin: Country Music’s Timeless Tenor” was one of 15 documentaries to win the Gold Telly in its category as well.
Riker and her team say they never expected the documentary to get the recognition it did.
“The fun part of our job is telling stories, and it’s great when we can leverage the popularity of a Ken Burns documentary like the country music documentary series and to tell a local story and have people find interest in that,” Riker says.
They say the documentary has already been played across 20 PBS stations.
You can stream the documentary by clicking here or also by checking your local PBS listings.