Renowned country singer, Hal Ketchum, will perform his newest album, “I’m the Troubadour,” on his stop at West Chester’s Uptown! Knauer and Performing Arts Center on his cross-country tour, along with the oldies-but-goodies he released back in the 80s and 90s. On October 26th at 7pm, enjoy listening to An Acoustic Evening with Hal Ketchum as he sings in delightful tenor tones. I had the pleasure of speaking with Hal this morning and I asked him why he considers “The Saddle” to be one of his favorites.
“‘The Saddle’ is about soldiers trapped in a desert storm,” he said. “I worked with the Wounded Warriors Project to produce it.”
Hal comes from a musical family with the blood of country music. His father and brother played the banjo, while Hal inherited his father’s old fiddle. He originally was a banjo player in a band with his brother called Squirrel Barkers. He later became a drummer in the Green Sabers band. After moving away from New York to Texas, Hal began performing at Gruene Hall.
“I just fell in love with performing in there,” he said. “That place had a really great vibe. And I loved the energy country music provided me when I performed.”
When he moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1991, Hal worked with Jim Rooney and Allen Reynolds to produce the album that gave him fame, Past the Point of Rescue. But talking with him, he acts modestly towards his fame.
Hal often performs with his guitarist, Kenny Grimes, though he is looking forward to sharing the stage with Travis Linville, and up-and-coming country music star. It’s most important to Hal that if people would want to follow in his footsteps, they be themselves, like Travis and him have done.
“I’m very sincere myself,” he said. “I think it’s important to convey that sincerity onstage and offstage.”
The country singer-songwriter has had many musical influences in his life. His friend, Merle Haggard, was a great poet, artist, and person in his life. And another friend, Harlan Howard, used to always tell him, “Nothing, but free chords and the truth,” an expression that reminds Hal to stay true to himself and have fun. But one of the strongest influences in his life is his mother. When Hal was a child, she had hung a poem called “Keep-a-Goin'” that has now become his motto:
Ain’t no use to sit and whine, ’cause the fish ain’t on your line,
Bait your hook and keep-a-tryin’, keep-a-goin’
“Do you think that you are absorbing the guidance that your parents and mentors have given you and applied it to your stage persona?” I asked Hal.
“Absolutely, I’m taking in their guidance,” Hal said. “I like being straightforward and sincere onstage. It’s who I am.”
For information on tickets, please visit Uptown! online.