20150118

Bluegrass Songwriter Dixie Hall Dies After Lengthy Illness!

Dixie HallA great friend to Bluegrass Music, Dixie Hall has passed away.  She was 80 years old.

Dixie Hall was a bluegrass patriot and music supporter long before she became the wife of Country Music legend, Tom T. Hall, to whom she was married for 46 years.

She was a renowned writer of country music and bluegrass songs, writing  hits for various artists including Johnny Cash and  Dave Dudley.

Mrs. Hall, who died Friday January 16, 2015 after a lengthy illness, wrote more than 500 commercially recorded bluegrass songs, more than any female songwriter in bluegrass history.

She was a Distinguished Achievement Award-winner from the International Bluegrass Music Association. She and her husband won the Grand Masters Gold prize from the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America, after notching 10 straight songwriters of the year awards.

Born Iris Violet May Lawrence, Mrs. Hall was raised in England's West Midlands, near Manchester. Early on, she sought outside influences, winning a BBC poetry contest with a verse about Canada. She often watched cowboy movies, and rode horses herself. By age 18, she had become a talented horsewoman and was working as a trick rider in Wild West shows on summer weekends.

A chance meeting with cowboy film star and recording artist, Tex Ritter, on a train to London started her in the music business.  First as a distributor of Ritter's records in England, her music career included magazine writing and eventually promotion and publicity in America.

Miss Dixie, as she was fondly called by those who knew her, worked with such giants in the business as The Stanley Brothers, The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, Stringbean, Lonzo & Oscar, Carl Story, Grandpa Jones, and Bill Clifton.

Tom Feller of Feller & Hill & the Bluegrass Buckaroos who's latest hit single was a Tom T. & Dixie Hall penned tune titled "Government Blues", remembers Miss Dixie fondly:

"Chris and I are deeply saddened by the loss of Miss Dixie. She was a gentle soul and one of the most genuine people I've ever met in my life. She didn't sugar-coat anything and always told it just like it was. Dixie and Tom T have been our biggest fans and supporters, since the formation of Feller and Hill and their songwriting and support has had a direct impact on our music. I don't feel we would have had the success we've enjoyed, thus far, without the support of the Halls. Chris and I had our last meeting with Miss Dixie around the first of April, last year. It was a great meeting and we were certainly proud to have been considered part of the family. Dixie often called for advice on marketing and advertising our music, as well as other groups' music and we considered each other a great team. She will be missed, but she leaves a great musical legacy behind. Feller and Hill will continue on with the launch of our new record label this year. We will use knowledge and experiences we gained, while working with Miss Dixie and the Blue Circle Records team, to start our own label to distribute our music and possibly other artists' music, down the road. As sad as we are about the loss of Miss Dixie, we are also excited for the future of Feller and Hill and our musical legacy. We ask that our fans say a prayer for Tom T. and the rest of the staff that helped Miss Dixie through her final months. "

Her funeral service will be private. Tom T. Hall told the Tennessean  newspaper that he expects to hold “a cheerful and joyous celebration of her life and music” at a later date that will be open to friends and fans.

Tom T. & Dixie Hall visit with Prescription Bluegrass Editor & Radio Host Brian McNeal

In 2012 at the International Bluegrass Music Association convention and Fanfest, Dixie  heard someone say "Prescription Bluegrass" and quickly blurted out, "I read that".  Her comments led to a promotional series we did that year featuring various bluegrass artists on the cover of a pseudo magazine (Prescription Bluegrass is online only) and the Halls graciously agreed to be among the first to have their likeness adorn the cover.

 


A fuller and more rewarding accounting of her life and contributions to music and her community can be found in Bluegrass Unlimited's feature story on her written by Nancy Cardwell.  !

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