Celebrating the Storyteller: Trail Town Stage honors Tom T. Hall

Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

 If eastern Kentucky has a successful cultural export, it’s our music. You can’t really look at any of the counties bordering us without finding huge names in country and bluegrass music. The Judds are from Boyd County. Billy Ray Cyrus from Greenup. Tyler Childers and Ricky Skaggs from Lawrence. Keith Whitley from Elliott. 

And from Carter County, there was Tom T. Hall. 

Local musicians gathered in Hall’s hometown of Olive Hill last Friday to celebrate the native son, and his impact on the popular music landscape and their own musical journeys. The evening of music and storytelling started off with another Olive Hill native, Sasha Colette. 

Colette, like the other performers, shared a mix of original material and Tom T. Hall songs before leaving to perform another gig at the release of her newest album with her band, Sasha Colette and the Magnolia, Here To Stay. 

Colette was followed by Don Rogers, Beau Lambert, and Whistle & Fish, with various sit-ins from the performers peppered throughout, before George Molton, Tony Pence, and Dave Carroll took the stage for the final leg of the show. 

Pence, Carroll, and Molton – who teased that instead of the Highwaymen they were the Oldmen – really delivered on the informal and intimate feel established in the earlier performances. Sometimes they played together. Sometimes two of them would sit and watch in silence while one shared a song of their own, such as when Molton followed up Carroll’s cover of “Old Dogs, Children, and Watermelon Wine” with his pick for favorite Tom T. song, “Sneaky Snake.” 

“See, that’s deep,” he teasingly interjected after singing the line about the grass tickling his underneath. 

The evening wrapped up with a group performance and audience sing along of the Hall classic, “Me and Jesus.” 

This was one the first Trail Town Stage performance since COVID caused the closure of many events last year. Organizer Max Hammond said they hope to return to a bi-monthly schedule soon, with a return of the pop-up Trail Town Pub (and the popular after show pub jam sessions). 

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com 

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