Country music legend Tom T. Hall dies at 85

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Inductee Tom T. Hall speaks at the 2008 Country Music Hall of Fame inductees press conference on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Downtown Nashville. PHOTO: John Russell

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Country music legend Tom T. Hall, known as “The Storyteller,” passed away Friday at the age of 85.  

The County Music Association confirmed Hall’s passing. Hall was a seven-time CMA Awards nominee and was dubbed “The Storyteller” by Tex Ritter, who described Hall as “writing songs distinguished by their narrative quality, their rich detail and their keen insight into the beauty of everyday life.” 

“Few could tell a story like Tom T. Hall. As a singer, songwriter and instrumentalist, he was one of those triple threat artists who continued to make an impact on the next generation,” Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern said. “I’ll always remember growing up listening to Tom T.’s music with my father, who was a huge bluegrass and Country fan.”

Hall was born in Olive Hill, Ky., and started a band named “The Kentucky Travelers” as a teenager, according to Country Aircheck. While serving in the Army, he performed for the Armed Forces Radio Network and wrote comedic songs about his time as a service member.

Hall went on to work as a disc jockey while attending Roanoke College. He launched his career in radio and eventually moved to Nashville where he started working as a songwriter.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and CEO Kyle Young also recalled Hall’s impact on country music.

“Tom T. Hall’s masterworks vary in plot, tone and tempo, but they are bound by his ceaseless and unyielding empathy for the triumphs and losses of others,” Young said in a statement. “He wrote without judgment or anger, offering a rhyming journalism of the heart that sets his compositions apart from any other writer. His songs meant the world to Bobby Bare, Johnny Cash, George Jones and other greats, and those songs will continue to speak to generations. He was a storyteller, a philosopher, a whiskey maker, a novelist, a poet, a painter, a benefactor, a letter writer, a gift giver, a gentleman farmer and many more things. My bet is that we won’t see the likes of him again, but if we do I’ll be first in line for tickets to the show.”

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Hall was elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1978 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2019. In 2008, Hall was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  

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