Eddie Owen Presents: Hal Ketchum with special guest Levi Lowrey
Live @ Red Clay Music Foundry Friday March 2nd, at 8 pm
Doors open 7:00 PM
Ticket sales ended Mar 2, 2018 6:00 PM. Additional tickets may be available at the box office.
Reserved seating
Premium: $36 in advance ($40 day of show)
Reserved: $31 in advance ($35 day of show)
Five years ago, Hal Ketchum packed up his guitars and left Nashville, turning his back on a successful, 20+ year career in country music. He'd already sold more than 5 million albums, racking up a half-dozen Top 10 hits — including staples like "Small Town Saturday Night" and "Hearts Are Gonna Roll" — along the way. 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 had my daughter bring me groceries. I develop a form of agoraphobia, really. 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."

It was a relaxing time. Try as he might, though, Ketchum couldn't stop his musical wheels from spinning. As he sat on the porch of his home — a renovated, 19th century grist mill in the middle of the Texas Hill Country — he began documenting everything he saw. He jotted down the memories that crossed his mind, too. Before long, new songs began appearing. The process felt entirely different from Ketchum's final years in Nashville, back when songwriting had been a job. This time around, songwriting was something more. It was personal. It was casual. It was also rallying cry for Ketchum, who decided he wasn't ready to give up music, after all.

Those new songs became the foundation of Ketchum's newest album, I'm the Troubadour. Recorded in a series of single takes, I'm the Troubadour is the sound of an artist finding his own redemption in the strum of an acoustic guitar, the boom of a kick drum, and the trill of an upright piano. It's an album inspired by years of struggle, performed by a songwriting legend who's glad to finally get his groove back.

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 — whose members include guitarist Kenny Grimes and drummer Rick Richards — 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. Back then, Ketchum was a young cabinet maker from Gruene, TX, who wrote his own songs about love, longing, and life in the American South. He hit the country market shortly after artists like Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, and Travis Tritt, three likeminded troubadours who also wrote their own material. A bemused Earle called the movement "the great credibility scare of 1990," laughing at the fact that country music — typically a conservative genre — was suddenly being steered by young, creative wild men.

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, from the bluesy, roadhouse rock & roll of the title track — a biographical song about touring across the country, one stage at a time — to the jazzy swell of "New Mexican Rain." Meanwhile, he also puts an updated stamp on two of his older tunes, even turning "I Know Where Love Lives" into a surprise duet with blues singer Tameca Jones.

"I'd reached a point during my time in Nashville where I'd fallen into that mill worker mentality, where you're only as good as your last record," Ketchum remembers. "If the phone didn't ring for two days, I was crushed. I'd worked myself into this odd place, where you have to be validated by your previous accomplishments. To be liberated from that kind of pressure is really fantastic. The pressure's off now. I'm just old Hal now. I'm 61 years old, and I still have a lot to say."

Half a decade ago, Ketchum thought he'd permanently closed the book on his songwriting career. Thankfully, I'm the Troubadour starts a new chapter. more >>>
Despite his growing success, Levi Lowrey announces-just 15 seconds into his self-titled, sophomore Southern Ground album-that he’s every bit as confused and unsure of his place in the world as anyone when he sings, “I have tried and I’ve tried, but I ain’t never satisfied this hunger burnin’ in my soul” on album opener, “Picket Fences.”

His heart immediately laid bare, the 13 tracks that follow are equally confessional as Lowrey explores his own mortality through the eyes of his daredevil children in “Trying Not To Die,” and tries to reconcile his faith with his history of destructive behaviors on “I’ve Held the Devil’s Hand.”

If he has any intentions of shedding his image as an honest, life-as-an-open-book songwriter, the new album will do little to accomplish that, but Lowrey’s sincerity and unflinching willingness to tell his life’s story in public are traits he’s unafraid to embrace.

Lowrey is hitting his stride as an artist, having toured extensively with the Zac Brown Band to support Lowrey’s Southern Ground debut album, I Confess I Was A Fool, and as a songwriter with a No. 1 hit and several awards and nominations to his credit.

He was nominated for a CMA Award for Song of the Year, and won a BMI Country Award for Top 50 Songs of the Year, both for “Colder Weather,” the No. 1 hit he co-wrote with frequent collaborator Zac Brown. Lowrey and Brown also co-wrote “The Wind,” from the Zac Brown Band’s No. 1 Billboard album Uncaged, as well as the rollicking “Day For The Dead,” from the newest ZBB album, The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1.

As a performer, he has received numerous accolades, as well, being singled as one of its “13 For 13: Ones To Watch in 2013 -The New Artists,” as well as having his debut album honored as its third-best country album of the year in 2011-both by

True to his reputation as a talented writer, Lowrey penned four of the 14 songs on the self-titled album alone, and co-wrote the other ten. Each brings a brutal honesty that offers insights into different parts of Lowrey’s life. He’s a happily married father of two with a successful career who helps his wife homeschool his children whenever he can, but he’s not afraid to explore subjects that others might find too uncomfortable for casual conversations.

Nowhere is this more apparent than on “Urge for Leaving,” which was written about his birth father who left shortly before Lowrey was born, as well as his adoptive stepfather and his mother, who are no longer together. This song explores the tense dynamic between all four parties, and asks the question of whether the sins of the father have been imprinted upon the son. Lowrey opens the tune with the heartwrenching line “My father left me before I was born, on a cold winter’s night in 1984.”

Despite his songwriting prowess, Levi Lowrey actually began as a fiddle player. No surprise, since his great-great-grandfather, the late Gid Tanner, was also a fiddle player and today stands as a towering figure in country music history. Despite such a legacy, Lowrey felt no pressure, and he took naturally to the fiddle-it’s in his blood, after all-playing in school orchestra, at bluegrass festivals, in weekly jam sessions in his hometown of Dacula, Ga. and with various relatives.

Lowrey wrote a number of instrumental compositions designed to showcase his fiddle skills, but ultimately left it behind to pick up a guitar and seek rock ‘n’ roll glory. Inspired by Butch Walker and his Atlanta power-pop outfit, Marvelous Three, Problem Thomas became the venue where Lowrey got comfortable onstage and grew into his role as a songwriter. He also began leading worship at his church as the band ran its course-in fact, its core now remains as Lowrey’s touring ensemble, the Community House Band.

Even though he’s now an artist with a sound that’s tough to pigeonhole-perhaps the gentler cousin of outlaw country, or somewhere between classic country, rock and folk-Lowrey’s reputation as a solid performer with a bag full of amazingly compelling songs is growing with each show he performs, each tour he completes, each album he releases.

With all the success that has come his way, Lowrey maintains the importance of keeping things simple with respect to his music. The self-titled album was tracked, start to finish in just two weeks and features Lowrey, his backing band and just a few, select outside contributors, such as Clay Cook (Zac Brown Band), Ross Holmes (Mumford & Sons/Cadillac Sky), Oliver Wood (The Wood Brothers) and even longtime Nashville fixture Mac McAnally.

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