Hal Ketchum began his musical career in the urban cores of New England, but quickly became dissatisfied with big city life and made a direct move to Austin, Texas.
It was there that Hal really began to focus on the craft of songwriting and found a group of whip smart musicians to play nearby honky tonks and dancehalls, which were still in good supply in Austin even in the 80s. By 1985 he was playing at small Texas clubs with a loyal following and a heart for the road.
In 1986, Ketchum recorded 11 of his self-penned songs under his full name Hal Michael Ketchum. The album was called Threadbare Alibis, was released in 1988 under the small Texas label Watermelon Records. It sold a respectable number of copies, but Ketchum wouldn’t taste real success until his second album “Past the Point of Rescue” hit number 6 on the charts and went certified Gold.
As fortune smiled upon him, Hal thought it best to head to the country music capital of the world to try his luck. Nashville proved to be a welcoming town, and Ketchum recorded many award winning songs during his time there, such as “Stay Forever” and “Hearts are Gonna Roll.”
In June 1998, Ketchum was diagnosed with a neurological disorder called Acute Transverse Myelitis, an ailment of the spinal column, which left Ketchum without the use of the left side of his body. He had to relearn basic tasks, including how to walk and play the guitar. In 2009, he was dealt yet another blow as he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. However, recently Hal has received excellent therapeutic treatment and is once again able to perform music for his fans.
This video is an audio only YouTube file of his song “Mama Knows the Highway,” which reached number 8 on the Country music charts in 1993. We hope you enjoy his easy and honest style of songwriting, truck drivers!
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