Greetings from faraway Scotland in the season of the Burns Supper (poet Robert Burn’s birthday is January 25th).
First off, dispensing with some current band news, we released a new single from our live album Live at the Old Feed Store (see video above), an original of mine called “Like a Hawk.” It’s a song that I’d previously recorded in the studio in L.A. with Pete Anderson producing. The album was more a blend of bluegrass, traditional country and some edgy California country sounds, so this new live treatment is our first full-on bluegrass treatment of the song. The new single has recently been featured on the widely syndicated shows Into The Blue (with Terry Herd) and Knee Deep in Bluegrass (with Cindy Baucom).
I don’t mean to breeze through band business so quickly, but there’s a subject much nearer to my heart at this time, and that is the sad passing of Miss Dixie Hall, late on January 18. She lost a battle with brain cancer and had been in hospice care, surrounded by family at her home in Franklin, TN.
I can say with sincerity that we were close, but the truth is that Dixie was close to many people; she was a very welcoming soul who adopted many people and animals. Here is a link to my piece about her in Bluegrass Today, discussing this, and stressing her humorous side. Here, too, is a link to the last interview of Miss Dixie, by this site’s web developer and Bluegrass Today contributor, Lisa Jacobi.
My wife Sally and I got to know the Halls, first as casual friends and neighbors, then as closer friends, frequent breakfast companions, occasional songwriting partners, and sometime road trip companions. Regarding the breakfasts, I supplied the pancakes, but in the end they were merely the stone in the stone soup, as Miss Dixie added an incredible array of pork tenderloin, eggs, fresh fruit, and other delicacies, bountiful and edible symbols of her generosity.
That generosity, and her love for the bluegrass music community is by now well-known and well-documented, and, as with breakfast, Dixie never did anything in her life half way.
In recent times, I was a frequent boarder at Fox Hollow (another example of taking in strays). Those are times I will cherish now, always.
Miss Dixie, I join my family and the chorus of the hundreds of people (literally) around the world you’ve had a major impact on who felt part of your family when I say that we love you, we thank you, and “later.”
P.S. I’ll have a special tribute to Miss Dixie in the first hour of Friday’s (Jan. 23) Truegrass show on SiriusXM 61, Bluegrass Junction. 3:00 PM eastern, with a rebroadcast Sunday at 6:00 PM eastern.
Below: Miss Dixie, with Hank Snow, Mother Maybelle Carter (with whom she lived for a time), and Johnny Cash.
Below that: Dixie and Tom T. Hall at a BMI Awards dinner. They first met at one of those events in the mid-60s.