The story of Who’s Gonna Tell The Story and Tom T Hall

Pinecastle Records has a new video to share for the single, Who’s Gonna Tell The Story, recorded by Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road, but the song – and the video – have a unique back story.

In fact, Lorraine feels a bit reticent to even call it their single, as she says she was approached by the songwriters with one so special that she believes that the credit should all go to them. But let’s back up a bit…

Who’s Gonna Tell The Story was written by Mark Brinkman and David Stewart, who started out thinking of it as a more generic homage to songwriters as storytellers. But as the song progressed, it turned into a tribute to “The Storyteller,” the late Tom T Hall, who had earned that nickname over a long career of spinning stories in his songs that consistently resonated with regular people all over the world.

Jordan tells us that she had long recognized that Tom T had that special gift, long before they ever worked together.

“We’ve all known poor storytellers. Some of them start in the middle of a story leaving you totally confused, some blurt out the punch line first, then try to explain it, others go on and on with great detail only to have no point to their long windedness. 

Tom T. Hall was NOT one of those.

He was incredibly talented, and entertained us time and again with songs that will stand the test of time. He was an American country and bluegrass singer-songwriter as well as a short story author. With hit after hit, he earned his reputation as ‘The Storyteller.'”

She got to know Hall and his wife, Miss Dixie, one year at the Bill Monroe festival in Indiana, and eventually was able to spend a great of time with them at their home in Nashville, Fox Hollow, and their recording studio on the property. Lorraine and Dixie worked closely together on the several Daughters of Bluegrass projects, as well as Carolina Road having been on their Blue Circle Records label at one time.

“Tom T. heard my band at Bean Blossom one year, and asked me to come over to talk after the show. He said, ‘I like your band and I want to write some songs for you.’ I was flattered, and we worked together for five years after that. Tom T. even gave me my stage name, ‘The Lady of Tradition,’ which I still use today.”

OK, back to the song…

Brinkman and Stewart brought Lorraine a demo for Who’s Gonna Tell The Story, and Carolina Road and Pinecastle signed on to record and release it, even though it was outside of any recording plans for the band.

For Jordan, it deserved more than just being a single release from Carolina Road.

“They had written a song that would make Tom T. proud. It is so good; you would have thought ‘The Storyteller’ had written it himself. The song perfectly captures the essence of songwriting and Tom T’s genius with lyrics like, ‘He could see what was in my heart and describe it to a T’.”

But as much as she loves this song, Lorraine says that it takes on a new character in the music video, created by Mickey Stroud, which she calls, “A 3-Min Movie Wrapped Around 3 Chords featuring Tom. T Hall.”

Stroud is an experienced filmmaker, who has worked for years in advertising as well as film. Retired now, he has taken on oversight of the live video stream from Lorraine’s Coffee House & Music in Garner, NC as a passion project. He has taken the audio for Who’s Gonna Tell The Story, and set it against historic images and photos of Tom T Hall. It does have a powerful impact.

Have a look…

Who’s Gonna Tell The Story, the single, is available now from popular download and streaming services online. Radio programmers can get the track via AirPlay Direct.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.