We here at Austin City Limits were saddened to learn of the death of singer/songwriter Hal Ketchum. The American country great died of complications of dementia at age 67.
Though the golden-voiced New York native was best known as one of Nashville’s brightest stars of the nineties, with eleven albums to his name, he was a staple of Texas music clubs before he hit Music City. He nurtured his catalog of tunes for years in Austin listeners’ venues like the Cactus Cafe, with his debut album Threadbare Alibis coming out on Austin’s own Watermelon Records. The combination of being a major country hitmaker (“Small Town Saturday Night,” “Sure Love,” “Past the Point of Rescue,” “Hearts Are Gonna Roll,” “I Know Where Love Lives”) and his Central Texas roots earned him three appearances on ACL, in 1992, 1994 and 1998.
Ketchum moved back to Texas in 2008 and made his final live appearance at Gruene Hall in 2018. He retired in 2019 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He will be greatly missed.