Hall’s incredible songwriting career and association with BMI, the global leader in music rights management, began in the early 1960s and his big break came in 1963 when country singer Jimmy C. Newman recorded his song, DJ for a Day.
That prompted his move to Nashville, a recording career, many road tours and more top rated songs, such as Harper Valley PTA, the No. 1 hit recorded in 1968 by Jeannie C Riley, Margie’s at the Lincoln Park Inn and That’s How I Got to Memphis, both recorded by Bobby Bare.
As a recording artist, Hall had seven No. 1 singles, all self-penned; 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).
Since Hall’s retirement from touring, he has enjoyed considerable writing success in the world of bluegrass music. A small sample of the Hall compositions includes Bill Monroe For Breakfast, which Hall recorded himself; That’s How I Got To Memphis recorded by Charlie Sizemore; Everyday Is Mother’s Day and Clinch Mountain Mystery by The Larry Stephenson Band; Pretty Green Hills by Dave Evans; Poverty Row by Cedar Hill; Let Me Fly Low by Charlie Waller; Empty Old Mailbox by Don Rigsby; The Man On The Side Of The Road and A Hero In Harlan by Chris Jones; Follow Me Back To The Fold by Mark Newton; Train Songs by Ralph Stanley II; Train Without a Track by Junior Sisk and Rambler’s Choice; and The Boys In Hats and Ties by Big Country Bluegrass.
He has collaborated extensively with his wife Dixie, and the Halls have been named SPBGMA Songwriter of the Year for 10 consecutive years, earning them the Master’s Gold and Grand Master’s Gold awards.
The night’s musical tribute to Tom T. Hall featured The Avett Brothers, who took the stage to deliver That’s How I Got To Memphis, and bluegrass duo Dailey & Vincent, who performed Can You Hear Me Now?
The 76-year-old singer-songwriter known by fans as The Storyteller says he was “very proud of the fact” that he could get back into his tuxedo, which has been out of commission for the last 12 years.
The BMI Icon award is given to songwriters who have had a “unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers.”
Category: Bluegrass Songwriting News
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About the Author (Author Profile)
Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics.
A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe.
He wrote the annotated series I’m On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.
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