Hal Ketchum

Hal Ketchum


Hal Ketchum's latest release - Father Time - is the ninth album in a distinguished musical career that includes such indelible Top 10 hits as "Small Town Saturday Night," "Past The Point of Rescue," "Hearts Are Gonna Roll" and "Stay Forever." It may well be his masterpiece.


Hal Ketchum's Father Time is the ninth album in a distinguished musical career that includes such indelible Top 10 hits as "Small Town Saturday Night," "Past The Point of Rescue," "Hearts Are Gonna Roll" and "Stay Forever." It may well be his masterpiece. On the 14-song tour de force, the man hailed as "the most exquisite voice in country music" (USA Today) and "one hell of a storyteller" (the9513.com) who "couldn't write a bad song if he tried" (All Music Guide) delivers one hell of an exquisite album that plays from first track to last like the work of a lifetime. It's a musically and lyrically opulent and vibrant opus that is both immediate and timeless.

Father Time was created in two magical days of recording direct to two tracks with a crew of some of Nashville's most virtuosic players and backup singers. It was both arranged and mixed as the music was made, with no overdubs. Like the gems from Sun Studio or Bradley's Barn that still sound as fresh and compelling as the day they were cut, Ketchum recorded Father Time without a net, relying on the strength of his finest collection of songs yet and an almost psychic unity between singer and musicians, capturing lightning in a bottle often on the very first or second take.

The songs on Father Time include some of Ketchum's most recent compositions - many of them road-tested before audiences at his live shows - as well as the first song he ever wrote ("The Preacher and Me") and even one number ("Surrounded By Love") written on a lunch break on the first day of recording, along with some of his favorite collaborations with fellow songwriters that had yet to be recorded. As the title implies, the songs focus on life's essential matters, with characters that resonate with the believability of real people living (and dying). In "Yesterday's Gone," "Surrounded By Love" and "The Day He Called Your Name" family members face mortality with an enriching love and sweetness, and there are cinematic tales about everyday people ("Invisible" and "Ordinary Day") as well as the vividly unique characters that make life a rich pageant ("Millionaire's Wife," "Million Dollar Baby" and "Continental Farewell").

From the Central Texas climes where Ketchum began his career as an artist ("Down Along the Guadalupe") to the battlefields of the Civil War ("Sparrow") to the fertile realms of Ketchum's imagination ("Strangest Dreams"), Father Time transports listeners to those places that only the most artful and compelling songwriting can evoke. And its one cover, Tom Waits' "Jersey Girl," stands head and shoulders with the versions by both its composer and the esteemed artist who also covered it, Bruce Springsteen. And all of the album's stories and emotions unfold within one of the most musically inviting and satisfying recordings in recent memory.

Father Time is the album that Hal Ketchum's talents have promised ever since he burst onto the country music scene in 1991, hitting #1 with his very first single, "Small Town Saturday Night." His almost instant arrival as a distinctive artistic presence reflected a lifetime already immersed in music.

Reared in the village of Greenwich in the gorgeously verdant countryside of upstate New York, Ketchum hails from a family where singing and playing music was part of the daily (and nightly) diet for generations. He was exposed to country music (his father was a fan) as well as the symphonic classics and, one year, even the Newport Jazz Festival at the nearby Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

"It was just a natural thing to be intrigued with music," explains Ketchum, who started playing drums at age nine and by 14 was gigging at local bars and taverns. Anyone looking for a reason why "Small Town Saturday Night" immediately struck a chord with music lovers - and the roots of Ketchum's innate knack for connecting with an audience in live performance - can find the origins in his years of making music for regular people seeking to transcend the everyday on weekend nights.
"It was a great lesson in sociology because the bars would move the pool table over in the corner and put a three-quarter-inch piece of plywood on top, and that would be my drum riser. At 15 years old I'd get to sit up in the corner of these joints and just watch the evening progress. Friday night everybody would get paid from one of the local pulp mills, and they would wander in and be very generous during the first set. Then by halfway through the second set they're dancing with one of the girls. And by the third set they're fighting. I learned never to stop playing during a fight. That was an important part of my education." So it's no wonder that the scene depicted in his very first hit "is tattooed onto my soul."

Ketchum eventually traded one of his two drum kits for a five-string banjo and then traded another banjo for a Martin acoustic guitar, forming a duo with his singing and guitar-playing brother to also entertain at local nightspots. A move to Te


Hal Ketchum's Hits Include:

* Small Town Saturday Night
* Mama Knows The Highway
* I Know Where Love Lives
* Past The Point Of Rescue
* Someplace Far Away
* Sure Love
* Satisfied Minds
* Hang In There Superman
* Five O'Clock World
* Hearts Are Gonna Roll
* Stay Forever
* I Miss Mary
* That's What I Get For Losin' You
* Wings Of A Dove

Father Time
Label: Curb
Released: 11/4/08

Greatest Hits
Label: Curb
Released: 5/6/08

The King of Love
Label: Curb Records
Released: 3/25/03

Lucky Man
Label: Curb Records
Released: 5/8/01

Awaiting Redemption
Label: Curb Records
Released: 5/18/99

I Saw the Light
Label: Curb Records
Released: 5/19/98

The Hits
Label: Curb
Released: 1/1/96

Every Little Word
Label: Curb Records
Released: 1/1/94

Sure Love
Label: Curb Records
Released: 1/1/92

Past the Point of Rescue
Label: Curb Records
Released: 1/1/91

Threadbare Alibis
Label: Watermelon
Released: 1/1/88

Set List

60-90 minute show