Artist2Artist with Dixie Hall

Miss Dixie Hall with one of her beloved dogs - photo by Nancy CardwellIn mid-May of this past year, I traveled to Franklin, Tennessee to interview the beautiful, talented and highly successful songwriter, Miss Dixie Hall.

or… Miss Dixie, if you’ve known her for your entire life – or if you have just met her. Permission granted.

Here in the deep south, women of a certain age and elegance are regularly addressed by the tender use of the salutation Miss followed by their first name. It doesn’t matter if she is married, or never been, or not now.

Dixie is indeed married. She is 100% half of the 200% marriage with Nashville musical royalty Tom T. Hall. A six-decade long songwriting mega musical hit household living in rolling horse farm country beyond the business-hustle of Nashville. Theirs is a plantation home, high on a hill, at the end of a long winding driveway with a beautiful recording studio just behind the main house. Fox Hollow it’s called. It’s guarded gently by peacocks.

Hundreds of Dixie’s songs have been recorded by musical artists from all around the world, mutli-times over. Mega hits many of them. That’s Miss Dixie’s artistic legacy.

There is legacy beyond the pen.

Almost every professional musician in the country or bluegrass music world, especially if they are a woman, knows the name Dixie Hall. She has mentored and guided more female musical artists from the her humble kitchen table than any professional songwriter in the business, male or female. She is the motherly arms we, women, long to turn to when the business of music is getting us down, blocking our way, or just seems to be a puzzle where none of the pieces have straight edges.

Those who come to her table, join a sisterhood.

The moment I walked through her door and sat down at her table, she invited me to join that sisterhood.

I guess I became its newest, a member that few of the other sisters have yet to meet, and its last member. Because 3 days later, Miss Dixie was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.

Her 100% husband, Tom T., asked me to not release my Artist2Artist conversation with Miss Dixie until after her death. I wanted her to hear it, but I knew it would be more important to take care of those who were caring for her, and if this is what made the last few months easier for Tom T., then this is the very least I could do to honor his love for her.

Miss Dixie died last Friday night. This is our conversation.