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March 1, 2018 @ 7:00 pm | $30

Organizer: Songbirds Guitar Museum, Phone: https://songbirdsguitars.com/organizer/songbirds-guitar-museum-20/

Five years ago, Hal Ketchum packed up his guitars and left Nashville, turning his back on a successful, 20+ year career in country music. He’d already sold more than 5 million albums, racking up a half-dozen Top 10 hits — including staples like “Small Town Saturday Night” and “Hearts Are Gonna Roll” — along the way. But Ketchum was exhausted, and his multiple sclerosis, a condition that often left him partially paralyzed, wasn’t making matters any easier. He wanted to go home. And that’s exactly what the singer/songwriter did, heading back to Texas for some peace, quiet, and serious introversion.

“I was hiding out,” he admits. “I’d been in the public for so long. I didn’t even go into town; I had my daughter bring me groceries. I develop a form of agoraphobia, really. I found pleasure in watching the stars at night and watching the sun during the afternoon. I also put out a lot of bird feeders and basically talked to myself all day long.”

It was a relaxing time. Try as he might, though, Ketchum couldn’t stop his musical wheels from spinning. As he sat on the porch of his home — a renovated, 19th-century grist mill in the middle of the Texas Hill Country — he began documenting everything he saw. He jotted down the memories that crossed his mind, too. Before long, new songs began appearing. The process felt entirely different from Ketchum’s final years in Nashville, back when songwriting had been a job. This time around, songwriting was something more. It was personal. It was casual. It was also rallying cry for Ketchum, who decided he wasn’t ready to give up music, after all.

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