Five years ago, Hal Ketchum packed up his guitars and left Nashville, turning his back on a successful, career in country music that had spanned well over 20 years with five million albums and a half-dozen Top 10 hits — including staples like "Small Town Saturday Night" and "Hearts Are Gonna Roll". 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 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."
On I'm the Troubadour, Ketchum ditches the country rulebook and tackles a combination of folk, blues, and soul music instead, tying the whole thing together with the rootsy rumblings of his studio band and the same croon that helped make him a permanent member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1994. I'm the Troubadour also marks his first release for Music Road Records, an Austin-based label co-run by folk artist Jimmy LaFave.
Strangely enough, the latest release from Ketchum — now 61 years old — brings to mind the thrill of his earliest albums. I'm the Troubadour has a similar sound, a left-of-center immediacy that makes it one of the most important albums in Ketchum's career. After logging nearly two decades on the roster of Curb Records, Ketchum has earned the right to call his own shots. He isn't following any rules. He isn't catering to any trends. Instead, he's simply following his muse wherever it leads.
It's been 5 years since Wood & Wire sprouted out of the rich musical soil of Austin, TX. In that time, they've written music, recorded records, and performed at some of the most notable festivals and venues across the country. In the sometimes tightly defined genre of bluegrass music, Wood & Wire's 'band style' ethos are not unheard of, but certainly atypical. As are the elements of song crafting, so often associated with their TX home. Tony Kamel – leader singer, guitarist, mover, shaker, and primary songwriter – brings his material to the group in a malleable form, and the results are undeniable. ”I think I'm most proud of how we've developed our sound together", says Kamel. ”It feels great to step on stage feeling like we've really found our own style.”
A culmination of very distinct musical personalities, there's one ambition they all share, “Our goal is to show up and drive, so that the energy hits you, and it's undeniable,” says Bassist Dom Fisher.