View Full Version : Hal Ketchem

05-18-2001, 06:13 PM
Anyone know what's happening with Hal these days?. I've booked tickets to go see him at Billy Bobs in Forth Worth on 9th June. I've only got 2 of his c.d's from about 6 years ago and haven't heard him on our local New Country radio station in ages (although that not surprising). I'd be glad of some info.



Chris Gaines
05-18-2001, 07:39 PM
For sure, Hal Ketchum is a "Lucky Man."

He's got an exciting new single coming, and a new album to follow. While Ketchum is grateful, even this outlay of good fortune would not have convinced him to call his new album Lucky Man, but for the encouragement of acclaimed producer Rodney Crowell, who, like Ketchum, has his strongest musical roots in Texas. "I trust Rodney so much that he could tell me to call it 'Fred' and I'd call it 'Fred,' " Ketchum says of the album that includes eleven songs that showcase his evolution as both singer and songwriter.

"It's not really a great departure from what I have done, but it is an update that, in all ways, reflects who I am today," Ketchum says. The man Ketchum is today is one who is very much at peace and very much in love - he and Gina were married on Valentine's Day 1998.

The songs on Lucky Man have a common thread, Ketchum says. "A lot of the songs are about being in a real good relationship, not only with my wife and my children, but of being spiritually strong and happy. It's a good place to tell stories from." Ketchum, who has been called the "poet laureate of country music," has a wealth of stories to tell. In the past decade, Hal has had 15 memorable top 10 records, with such signature hits as "Small Town Saturday Night," "Past the Point of Rescue," "Sure Love," "Hearts Are Gonna Roll," and "Mama Knows the Highway."

Those numbers are sure to increase with the release of Lucky Man, his fifth album of new material for Curb Records, and his first since the critically acclaimed Awaiting Redemption. The selections Ketchum and Crowell chose for Lucky Man range from "She Is," an anthem of the best love has to offer, to the rockabilly-tinged rhythms of "Don't Let Go," to "The Richest Man in Texas," a ballad of a man whose wealth is vast even though he "may not have a nickel to my name."

And for those who have known Ketchum's battles and demons, and perhaps their own, there is "Can't Go Back," with its poignant recollection that he has "kicked around some places a man should never go/by fortune and the grace of God, I learned to just say no."

Ketchum's sentimental favorite is "She Is," "written for my wife, Gina. It is one of those songs that was just a visitation. It just came to me," he says. "It's for everyone who has been or will be in a good relationship. We all aspire to be well in that world."

Another favorite is "Dreams of Martina," that Crowell wrote especially for the album. "It's a real workingman's lament about a love that went wrong," Ketchum says of the song. "Rodney is such a brilliant songwriter, and that song plays so well in live shows," Ketchum says. "I think it's sort of reminiscent of the great Marty Robbins records."

While Ketchum's early influences included Robbins, as well as other country legends like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, the creative well from which he has drawn on his musical journey is much deeper than that. "I'm a voracious reader, and I think my inspiration comes from a pretty broad number of sources," Ketchum acknowledges. He writes every day, and his catalogue now numbers about 600 songs. But he's very selective about what he records, whether written by himself or another seasoned pro. "I'm still a listener first, and my standards are very high," he says. "I don't record anything that doesn't move me." He has to "go on stage and perform these every night, so I'm very particular about what is on an album." On the other hand, "I've got a great band, and live performance is what brings me to the next record."

Ketchum is proud of the work that he has done, and he's satisfied with the process that has allowed him to stay true to his musical roots. "Whenever anybody has a great idea for changing me, I just kind of lay low until the idea passes. I don't have to fight for who I am, I just have to understand who I am and protect it."

For this, he is undoubtedly a Lucky Man.

Hope that helps.. best I could do :)

www.halketchum.com is in the works but not developed yet..


05-18-2001, 07:59 PM
Hey Jason

Many thanks for the info on Hal. I'm looking forward to seeing him live.:) and the new site too.


05-21-2001, 05:33 PM
kinda wondered what happened to him. glad he's still writing. He's a good writer and i think country radio does a diservice by not playing him and Roddy enough. :)

Thanks for the info Jason.