17 January 2015

Dixie Hall

Dixie and Tom T. Hall

Bluegrass Today publishes the sad news that Iris Violet May Hall, 'Miss Dixie', wife of the great country music singer/songwriter Tom T. Hall, died last night at her home 'Fox Hollow' in Tennessee, at the age of 80.

Her remarkable career featured just over a year ago in an article by Nancy Cardwell in Bluegrass Unlimited magazine - 'Dixie Hall: gifted songwriter, organizer, and patron saint of bluegrass - Fifty years in the music business'. Born in the English midlands, she was a trick rider in Wild West shows till a chance meeting with Tex Ritter led to a career in record promotion and publicity in the US, where she became friends with the Carter Family and many other stars of bluegrass and classic country music.

She was already writing songs before she married Tom T. Hall in the 1960s, and together they wrote hundreds of songs and set up Blue Circle Records, 'a coalition to further the growth and appreciation of bluegrass music', and Good Home Grown Music. She has almost certainly done more for bluegrass than anyone from these islands apart from the record producers Art Satherley (1889-1986) and Don Law (1902-82). Nancy Cardwell's article ends with a quotation from Miss Dixie:

Bluegrass music speaks to my heart. It's what comes out. It's the best thing that happens.

Further appreciations will appear on Bluegrass Today and in other media.
The BIB mentioned Miss Dixie and her health problems early in December 2014, when we also drew attention to the major health problems that James King, one of the most respected singers in traditional bluegrass, has had for much of this year. Yesterday the Prescription Bluegrass Blog published a letter by Gary Reid - 'James King still needs our help'. Read more about the James King Medical Fund here.



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