22 August 2021

Tom T. Hall, 1936-2021 (updates)

The BIB reported in January 2015 the death of Iris Violet May Hall, 'Miss Dixie'. We now learn with great regret of the death on Friday of her husband, Tom T. Hall. Tom T. and Miss Dixie were inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2018. Thanks to Des Butler for the photo image (right) and the following appreciation of Tom T.'s career:

The death has occured on Friday 20 Aug. of Tom T. Hall, country music songwriter, singer, instrumentalist, and writer, at the age of 85. Known as 'the Storyteller', Tom T. Hall penned twelve No. 1 songs and over twenty-six Top 10s throughout his career.

Born 25 May 1936 in Olive Hill, Kentucky, Hall wrote his first song at the age of 9 and joined his first band, the Kentucky Travelers, as a teenager.

His first single as an artist, 'I washed my face in the morning dew', was released in the summer of ’67 and the No. 1s began rolling in shortly after, carrying him through much of the 1970s.

All self-penned, Hall’s many hits included 'A week in a country jail', 'The year that Clayton Delaney died', '(Old dogs, children and) Watermelon wine', 'I love', 'Country is', 'I care', and 'Faster horses (the Cowboy and the Poet)', among others. He joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1971 and was elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1978.

Among other hits penned by Hall are Dave Dudley’s 'The pool shark'; Bobby Bare’s '(Margie’s at) The Lincoln Park Inn' and 'How I got to Memphis'; and 'Harper Valley P.T.A.' for Jeannie C. Riley, which earned a CMA Single of the Year award.

Later on, Hall and his wife Iris (née Lawrence), better known as 'Miss Dixie', focused on advancing bluegrass music and its artists' careers. On their farm outside of Nashville the couple operated their own publishing companies as well as a state-of-the-art recording studio. Together, they won a dozen SPBGMA awards for Bluegrass Songwriter of the Year between 2002 and 2015 before Dixie’s death in 2015.

Tom T. Hall was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008 and was presented the BMI Icon Award in 2012 for his lasting influence on generations of songwriters.

Of the many albums I have of him, both vinyl and CD, I still get as much pleasure removing one of his early vinyl recordings from its sleeve, putting it on the turntable, and listening to it as I did the day I bought it. A great songwriting and storytelling talent has gone from us.

Tom T. Hall 1936-2021: RIP

Dixie and Tom T. Hall

Update: See also the obituary by Chris Jones on Bluegrass Today.

Update 24 Aug.: See also David Morris's memoir on Bluegrass Today.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home