During the peak of his rock 'n' roll success, Leon did what only he could think to do: change his name and release a record of country music covers! In 1973, Leon adopted the name Hank Wilson, as tribute to the other great Hanks of country music (Snow, Thompson, and Williams), and released "Hank Wilson's Back." The record was recorded at legendary Nashville studio Bradley's Barn, owned by country music legend Owen Bradley, and featured a who's-who of the great Nashville session musicians of the time, including Harold Bradley on bass, David Briggs on piano, Billy Bird on guitar, Charlie McCoy on harmonica, and Pete Drake on pedal steel, among many others.
The album was co-produced by fellow Tulsa music icon J.J. Cale, and featured country music standards like Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," Jimmie Rogers' "In The Jailhouse Now" and the standout single from the album, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs' "Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms," which peaked at #57 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles Chart and #78 on the Hot 100.
Eleven years later, Leon would release the sequel album, "Hank Wilson Vol. II," which would feature the lead single "Wabash Cannonball," a duet with Willie Nelson of the 19th century American folk classic. Leon would go on to release two more Hank Wilson albums in 1998 and 2001, and cap the series with "The Best of Hank Wilson" in 2009.
Country music played a major role in shaping Leon's musical interest and influencing his sound. While he was known more for his exploits in rock and blues, he made his presence in country music known through Hank Wilson, and brought the long-hair rock feel to the traditional country sound.