Phoenix blues guitarist Chuck Hall has signed on with local label Fervor Records, who specializes in licensing music, and the move has already paid off -- the label has landed his songs in an episode of Justified.
The record deal calls for his band to produce a CD, and for its part, Fervor will have more of his band's songs placed on TV shows and in movies. Those songs might come from as far back in the back catalog as 1986.
Hall happened to go to the Fervor Studio to record some songs with blues great Hans Olson when the two studio heads asked to talk with him. The deal was struck within minutes. Hall had worked with one of the owners 20 years ago, on an acoustic guitar project called Arizona Unplugged.
Now Hall performs with an electric guitar. "Some have called it 'high-powered, butt-rippin Texas-style blues," he says. The description works for him. Working with him on the project are Roy Cameron on drums, John Moore on bass, and Hall on guitar and vocals.
Hall's band has performed regularly across the Valley -- at Janey's in Cave Creek, along with Paradise Valley Community College and the Rhythm Room -- and in Northern Arizona. In Flagstaff they recently performed at Mia's and High Altitudes.
Hall was born in Louisiana, but he lived in Dallas and Detroit for years before landing in Arizona in 1984. Hall takes pride in being able to play any type of music, "but for some reason I channel the blues." Hall says his blues is an interpretation of many styles, but much of it comes from Texas, where he used to live.
"Music is like air to me," Hall says. "I don't know what I'd do without it." His mother, Betty Sue Hall, performed classical music, mostly Mozart, on the piano. Now 84, she continues to give individual piano lessons. His dad, meanwhile, brought home jazz record after jazz record.
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When he began playing as a teenager Hall says he got "real good, real fast," but he doesn't mean it as a boast -- it came so easily to him that he didn't take it seriously. By his early 20s he'd dedicated himself to working on it eight to ten hours every day.
"That's when music straightened out my life."
Hall holds other musicians to the same high standards. "I love the guys who get the most out of the least, meaning they can play one or two notes and stop you in your tracks," he says. BB King, Freddy King, Steve Cropper, and Jimi Hendrix are at the top of his list.
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For his next project, Hall has composed 15 pieces that he can perform solo on electric guitar. He's keeping busy in the meantime; in the past year, Hall married Mary Ann Donahue. "She inspires me to keep up my music," he says. "I've written five beautiful pieces that were directly inspired by her and wouldn't exist otherwise. I look forward to performing these songs, on my nylon strings, for the public."