In the 90s, Grand Ole Opry member Hal Ketchum was a big name in country music. Ten albums, 15 top 10 hits and 5 million record sales was nothing to sneeze at. But after his 2008 release, Father Time, he seemed to disappear. What many fans did not know at the time was that Ketchum was suffering from acute transverse myelitis, a neurological disorder caused by inflammation across both sides of one segment of the spinal cord. He lost the use of everything on the left side of his body and it literally took years of physical and occupational therapy to re-learn how to do the most basic of tasks. (Not to mention how to play guitar again.)
Last year, he turned back up online with an official web site, news of new music and a few shows here and there.
Now, it appears that Ketchum is back full force with a new album due out in October called I'm The Troubadour through Music Road Records out of Austin, Texas.
According to Saving Country Music, Hal said he wasn't planning on recording any new music. "The whole Nashville scene is extremely competitive. You’re as good as your last record. People are always showing you spreadsheets on how much money you owe for videos and tour support and everything else. I think there’s a certain level of resentment that comes with that," he shared.
While Nashville labeled him a "country singer," it was only a part of who he was and the new album will bring the other parts of Hal Ketchum to the table. He continued, "The genre served me very well, and I’m really grateful for the opportunities that the country music world brought to me. But creatively, this record was a really beautiful departure for me. It’s really opened me up again. the freedom of working with Music Road Records, without genre restrictions and commercial pressure, has given him new life … I think it’s going to be refreshing for people who haven’t heard me in a while to know that the old man’s still swingin.'"