Tom T. Hall
Member Since 1971
Since country music has long been celebrated for the strength of the stories it tells, it tells you something that there’s one performer in the music’s history identified simply as “The Storyteller.” That would be Tom T. Hall.
That tag was natural enough. There was no precedent for the combination of detailed observation, arresting storyline, and full-blooded characters Tom T. delivered in such songs as “The Day Clayton Delaney Died,” “Old Dogs, Children, and Watermelon Wine,” “Margie’s at the Lincoln Park Inn” and “I Flew Over Our House Last Night.” And the way he sings these stories—simple, clear, and as understated as a friend talking to you on a porch—matches the songs perfectly.
Some claim that the Kentucky-raised singer, songwriter, and author has “retired” to his farm south of Nashville. Don’t believe them.
Today, Tom T. regularly supervises acoustic sessions at his own recording studio, comes up with more of those utterly distinctive songs, often co-written with his wife Dixie now, and can be seen at venues from Nashville’s Station Inn to festivals across the country in support of the bluegrass music he holds especially dear. And from time to time he gets up and sings some in the same, unmistakable, laid-back style that took him to the country charts time after time in the 1970s.
The fourth son of a brick plant worker and Baptist minister, Tom T. began playing guitar at age four and wrote his first song at nine. In his teens, he formed a bluegrass band, which performed locally. After a stint in the army, while working as a radio copywriter in Roanoke, Virginia, he wrote songs on the side that were recorded by Jimmy C. Newman, Johnny Wright, Dave Dudley, and Bobby Bare.
After moving to Nashville in 1964, he had several early hit recordings of his own, including “I Washed My Face in the Morning Dew,” but when Jeannie C. Riley’s recording of his composition “Harper Valley PTA” sold six million copies and swept the 1968 awards, his own recording career at Mercury Records really took off. That career has continued through more than 45 albums.
Tom T. has authored a string of books, including an autobiography, a songwriting textbook, and several novels. His songs continue to be recorded with great regularity by everyone from Alan Jackson to bluegrasser Charlie Sizemore to a host of Americana/ “alternative country” singers on the salute collection Real: The Tom T. Hall Project.
In 2008, Tom T. Hall was elected to his rightful place in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Sings Dixie & Tom T.
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Birthplace: Olive Hill, Kentucky
Birth Date: May 25
Opry Induction: January 01, 1971