From his self-titled 1971 album John Prine, the song has been covered dozens of times by artists like John Denver and Tanya Tucker. It’s also a regular part of Hank Williams’ granddaughter Holly Williams’ show, and is one of my personal favorites of his.
The late, great John Prine says he got the idea to use “Montgomery” in the title since he loved Hank Sr.:
“I’m prone to think that it’s because I was a huge Hank Williams, Sr. fan and I knew he was from Montgomery.”
The rest of the inspiration came from a friend of John’s, who told him to write another song about old people, referring to his song “Hello In There”.
According to American Songwriter, he was intrigued by the idea of writing a song about a middle-aged woman who feels older than she is, and used the feeling of nostalgia from a past love to pen an absolutely incredible song:
“And I think that’s where I thought the woman was from in this image that I had, this woman with the soapsuds on her hand.
She lived in Montgomery, Alabama and she wanted to get out of there. She wanted to get out of her house and her marriage and everything. She just wanted an angel to come to take her away from all this.
And her memory of this cowboy she had once – or whether she had him or not – it doesn’t matter now.”
And Ashland, who has her own, unique style and incredible raspy voice does a beautiful job singing it herself: